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Lake water chemistry and the changing arctic environment: Topographic or climatic control?
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The arctic is expected to be one of the regions most affected by ongoing climate change, with relative changes in air temperatures significantly higher than the global mean. Lakes are recognized for their potential role in the global climate system and as ecosystems of importance for local societies. As such, there is a scientific interest regarding how arctic lakes and their geochemistry will respond to climatic changes. Lakes around Kangerlussuaq (66.99 N, 51.07 W), south-west Greenland, are known for their unique geochemical composition, including oligosaline lakes, of which some are enriched in colourless dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The origin of this DOC and the importance of local catchment properties for the general water chemistry is currently being debated. This thesis aimed at: i) exploring the extent and effect of catchment morphology on lake-water chemistry in the Kangerlussuaq area; ii) determine the predominant origin of DOC, aquatic or terrestrial. I used a remote-sensing approach based on satellite imagery and digital elevation model (DEM) in deciding landscape influence on water chemistry (pH, alkalinity, conductivity, base cations, sulphate, nitrogen and absorbance). To trace the origin of the organic sources behind DOC lake water and sediments, I used a hydrogen isotope tracing method. The remote sensing approach revealed that morphological characteristics serving as proxies for lake water residence time and hydrologic connectivity (e.g. lake altitude difference and absence of outlets) explained up to 77% of the variations in lake water chemistry. The hydrogen isotopic signature of the DOC indicated a predominantly autochthonous origin, i.e. 59 to 78% was estimated to originate from algae. I conclude that lake water chemistry of the lakes in the study area is primarily controlled by the precipitation : evaporation balance, enhanced by static catchment characteristics regulating water age. Thus, the examined lake water chemical properties are likely to remain across future climatic scenarios, providing the current precipitation : evaporation balance prevails.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 30
Keywords [en]
Søndre Strømfjord, water chemistry, morphology, remote sensing, stable isotopes
National Category
Natural Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-155903OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-155903DiVA, id: diva2:1284256
Subject / course
Examensarbete i Geovetenskap/naturgeografi avseende masterexamen
Educational program
Master's Programme in Geoecology
Presentation
2019-01-18, KBJ302, Linnaeus väg 4-6, 907 36, Umeå, 11:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-02-01 Created: 2019-01-31 Last updated: 2019-02-01Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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