Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Research article
11 Jul 2014
Research article |  | 11 Jul 2014

Thermokarst lake waters across the permafrost zones of western Siberia

R. M. Manasypov, O. S. Pokrovsky, S. N. Kirpotin, and L. S. Shirokova

Abstract. This work describes the hydrochemical composition of thermokarst lake and pond ecosystems, which are observed in various sizes with different degrees of permafrost influence and are located in the northern part of western Siberia within the continuous and discontinuous permafrost zones. We analysed the elemental chemical composition of the lake waters relative to their surface areas (from 10 to 106 m2) and described the elemental composition of the thermokarst water body ecosystems in detail. We revealed significant correlations between the Fe, Al, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and various chemical elements across a latitude gradient covering approximately 900 km. Several groups of chemical elements that reflect the evolution of the studied water bodies were distinguished. Combining the data for the studied latitude profile with the information available in the current literature demonstrated that the average dissolved elemental concentrations in lakes with different areas depend specifically on the latitudinal position, which is presumably linked to (1) the elements leached from frozen peat, which is the main source of the solutes in thermokarst lakes, (2) marine atmospheric aerosol depositions, particularly near the sea border and (3) short-range industrial pollution by certain metals from the largest Russian Arctic smelter. We discuss the evolution of the chemical compositions observed in thermokarst lakes during their formation and drainage and predict the effect that changing the permafrost regime in western Siberia has on the hydrochemistry of the lakes.