From greening to browning

catchment vegetation development and reduced S-deposition promote organic carbon load on decadal time scales in Nordic lakes

Anders G. Finstad*, Tom Andersen, Søren Larsen, Koji Tominaga, Stefan Blumentrath, Heleen A. De Wit, Hans Tømmervik, Dag Olav Hessen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Increased concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), often labelled "browning", is a current trend in northern, particularly boreal, freshwaters. The browning has been attributed to the recent reduction in sulphate (S) deposition during the last 2 to 3 decades. Over the last century, climate and land use change have also caused an increasing trend in vegetation cover ("greening"), and this terrestrially fixed carbon represents another potential source for export of organic carbon to lakes and rivers. The impact of this greening on the observed browning of lakes and rivers on decadal time scales remains poorly investigated, however. Here, we explore time-series both on water chemistry and catchment vegetation cover (using NDVI as proxy) from 70 Norwegian lakes and catchments over a 30-year period. We show that the increase in terrestrial vegetation as well as temperature and runoff significantly adds to the reduced SO 4 -deposition as a driver of freshwater DOC concentration. Over extended periods (centuries), climate mediated changes in vegetation cover may cause major browning of northern surface waters, with severe impact on ecosystem productivity and functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31944
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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