Geochemistry of small Canadian Arctic rivers with diverse geological and hydrological settings
Brown, Kristina A.
Williams, William J.
Carmack, Eddy C.
Fiske, Gregory J.
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A survey of 25 coastal‐draining rivers across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) shows that these systems are distinct from the largest Arctic rivers that drain watersheds extending far south of the Arctic circle. Observations collected from 2014 to 2016 illustrate the influences of seasonal hydrology, bedrock geology, and landscape physiography on each river's inorganic geochemical characteristics. Summertime data show the impact of coincident gradients in lake cover and surficial geology on river geochemical signatures. In the north and central CAA, drainage basins are generally smaller, underlain by sedimentary bedrock, and their hydrology is driven by seasonal precipitation pulses that undergo little modification before they enter the coastal ocean. In the southern CAA, a high density of lakes stores water longer within the terrestrial system, permitting more modification of water isotope and geochemical characteristics. Annual time‐series observations from two CAA rivers reveal that their concentration‐discharge relationships differ compared with those of the largest Arctic rivers, suggesting that future projections of dissolved ion fluxes from CAA rivers to the Arctic Ocean may not be reliably made based on compositions of the largest Arctic rivers alone, and that rivers draining the CAA region will likely follow different trajectories of change under a warming climate. Understanding how these small, coastal‐draining river systems will respond to climate change is essential to fully evaluate the impact of changing freshwater inputs to the Arctic marine system.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2020. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 125(1), (2020): e2019JG005414, doi:10.1029/2019JG005414.
Suggested CitationBrown, K. A., Williams, W. J., Carmack, E. C., Fiske, G., Francois, R., McLennan, D., & Peucker-Ehrenbrink, B. (2020). Geochemistry of small Canadian Arctic rivers with diverse geological and hydrological settings. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 125(1), e2019JG005414.
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