Regional variability in the atmospheric nitrogen deposition signal and its transfer to the sediment record in Greenland lakes

N. J. Anderson*, C. J. Curtis, E. J. Whiteford, V. J. Jones, S. McGowan, G. L. Simpson, Jan Kaiser

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

3 Citationer (Scopus)


Disruption of the nitrogen cycle is a major component of global environmental change. δ15N in lake sediments is increasingly used as a measure of reactive nitrogen input but problematically, the characteristic depleted δ15N signal is not recorded at all sites. We used a regionally replicated sampling strategy along a precipitation and N-deposition gradient in SW Greenland to assess the factors determining the strength of δ15N signal in lake sediment cores. Analyses of snowpack N and δ15N-NO3 and water chemistry were coupled with bulk sediment δ15N. Study sites cover a gradient of snowpack δ15N (ice sheet: −6‰; coast -10‰), atmospheric N deposition (ice sheet margin: ∼ 0.2 kg ha−1 yr−1; coast: 0.4 kg ha−1 yr−1) and limnology. Three 210Pb-dated sediment cores from coastal lakes showed a decline in δ15N of ca. -1‰ from ∼ 1860, reflecting the strongly depleted δ15N of snowpack N, lower in-lake total N (TN) concentration (∼ 300 μg N L−1) and a higher TN-load. Coastal lakes have 3.7–7.1× more snowpack input of nitrate than inland sites, while for total deposition the values are 1.7–3.6× greater for lake and whole catchment deposition. At inland sites and lakes close to the ice-sheet margin, a lower atmospheric N deposition rate and larger in-lake TN pool resulted in greater reliance on N-fixation and recycling (mean sediment δ15N is 0.5–2.5‰ in most inland lakes; n = 6). The primary control of the transfer of the atmospheric δ15N deposition signal to lake sediments is the magnitude of external N inputs relative to the in-lake N-pool.

TidsskriftLimnology and Oceanography
Sider (fra-til)2250-2265
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2018


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