Links Between Stream Water Nitrogen and Terrestrial Vegetation in Northeast Greenland

Tenna Riis, Jennifer L. Tank, Cecilie M. H. Holmboe, Pau Giménez-Grau, Mikhail Mastepanov, Núria Catalán, David Stott, Birgitte Hansen, Søren M. Kristiansen, Ada Pastor

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The Arctic is warming and significant changes to the landscape, including increased vegetative cover (“greening”), are expected in the near future. These landscape changes may alter nitrogen (N) availability in terrestrial, stream, and coastal ecosystems, where production is often N limited, but the exact changes in nutrient cycling are uncertain. Here, we analyzed the relationship between vegetation greenness (i.e., NDVI) and dissolved inorganic (DIN) and organic (DON) concentrations in streams draining 14 headwater catchments (mean 3.6 km 2, range 0.4–11 km 2) across three samplings in the Zackenberg area, Northeast Greenland. We found large variation in DIN and DON concentrations across the sampled streams. We further show that this variation is correlated to water temperature and catchment NDVI, such that increased vegetation greenness and temperature correlated with lower DIN, and increased greenness also correlated with higher DON concentrations in streams. The results suggest that increased terrestrial vegetation due to rising air temperature could substantially alter dissolved N concentrations and form in streams, with potentially cascading impacts on coastal areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023JG007688
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Pages (from-to)e2023JG007688
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023


  • stream
  • nitrogen
  • greening
  • Greenland
  • high Arctic


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