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Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s10533-013-9896-3
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Title (Primary) The age of terrestrial carbon export and rainfall intensity in a temperate river headwater system
Author Tittel, J.; Büttner, O.; Freier, K.; Heiser, A.; Sudbrack, R.; Ollesch, G.
Source Titel Biogeochemistry
Year 2013
Volume 115
Issue 1-3
Page From 53
Page To 63
Language englisch
Keywords DOC; DIC; Radiocarbon; 14C; Catchment; Reservoir
UFZ wide themes RU1

Riverine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) supports the production of estuaries and coastal ecosystems, constituting one of the most actively recycled pools of the global carbon cycle. A substantial proportion of DOC entering oceans is highly aged, but its origins remain unclear. Significant fluxes of old DOC have never been observed in temperate headwaters where terrestrial imports take place. Here, we studied the radiocarbon age of DOC in three streams draining forested headwater catchments of the river Mulde (Ore Mountains, Germany). In a 4 week summer precipitation event DOC aged at between 160 and 270 years was delivered into the watershed. In one stream, the DOC was modern but depleted in radiocarbon compared to other hydrological conditions. The yield was substantial and corresponded to 20–52 % of the annual DOC yields in wet and dry years, respectively. The analysis of long-term data suggested that the DOC export in extreme precipitation events added to the annual yield and was not compensated for by lower exports in remaining periods. We conclude that climate change, along with additional processes associated with human activities, channels old soil carbon into more rapidly cycled carbon pools of the hydrosphere.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Tittel, J., Büttner, O., Freier, K., Heiser, A., Sudbrack, R., Ollesch, G. (2013):
The age of terrestrial carbon export and rainfall intensity in a temperate river headwater system
Biogeochemistry 115 (1-3), 53 - 63 10.1007/s10533-013-9896-3