Seasonal nitrogen fluxes of the Lena River Delta

Tina Sanders*, Claudia Fiencke, Matthias Fuchs, Charlotte Haugk, Bennet Juhls, Gesine Mollenhauer, Olga Ogneva, Paul Overduin, Juri Palmtag, Vasily Povazhniy, Jens Strauss, Robyn Tuerena, Nadine Zell, Kirstin Dähnke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The Arctic is nutrient limited, particularly by nitrogen, and is impacted by anthropogenic global warming which occurs approximately twice as fast compared to the global average. Arctic warming intensifies thawing of permafrost-affected soils releasing their large organic nitrogen reservoir. This organic nitrogen reaches hydrological systems, is remineralized to reactive inorganic nitrogen, and is transported to the Arctic Ocean via large rivers. We estimate the load of nitrogen supplied from terrestrial sources into the Arctic Ocean by sampling in the Lena River and its Delta. We took water samples along one of the major deltaic channels in winter and summer in 2019 and sampling station in the central delta over a one-year cycle. Additionally, we investigate the potential release of reactive nitrogen, including nitrous oxide from soils in the Delta. We found that the Lena transported nitrogen as dissolved organic nitrogen to the coastal Arctic Ocean and that eroded soils are sources of reactive inorganic nitrogen such as ammonium and nitrate. The Lena and the Deltaic region apparently are considerable sources of nitrogen to nearshore coastal zone. The potential higher availability of inorganic nitrogen might be a source to enhance nitrous oxide emissions from terrestrial and aquatic sources to the atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-438
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Early online date16 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


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