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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Carbon emission from Western Siberian inland waters

Karlsson, Jan; Serikova, Svetlana; Vorobyev, Sergey N.; Rocher-Ros, Gerard; Denfeld, Blaize; Pokrovsky, Oleg S.;


High-latitude regions play a key role in the carbon (C) cycle and climate system. An important question is the degree of mobilization and atmospheric release of vast soil C stocks, partly stored in permafrost, with amplified warming of these regions. A fraction of this C is exported to inland waters and emitted to the atmosphere, yet these losses are poorly constrained and seldom accounted for in assessments of high-latitude C balances. This is particularly relevant for Western Siberia, with its extensive peatland C stocks, which can be strongly sensitive to the ongoing changes in climate. Here we quantify C emission from inland waters, including the Ob' River (Arctic's largest watershed), across all permafrost zones of Western Siberia. We show that the inland water C emission is high (0.08-0.10 Pg C yr(-1)) and of major significance in the regional C cycle, largely exceeding (7-9 times) C export to the Arctic Ocean and reaching nearly half (35-50%) of the region's land C uptake. This important role of C emission from inland waters highlights the need for coupled land-water studies to understand the contemporary C cycle and its response to warming. Rivers and lakes are thought to be a major conduit of loss for the massive amounts of carbon locked away in high-latitude systems, but such losses are poorly constrained. Here the authors quantify carbon emissions from rivers and lakes across Western Siberia, finding that emissions are high and exceed carbon export to the Arctic Ocean.

Published in

Nature Communications

2021, volume: 12, number: 1, article number: 825

Authors' information

Karlsson, Jan
Umea University
Serikova, Svetlana
Umea University
Vorobyev, Sergey N.
Tomsk State University
Rocher-Ros, Gerard
Umea University
Umeå University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Pokrovsky, Oleg S.
Tomsk State University

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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