Impacts of Polar Changes on the UV-induced Mineralization of Terrigenous Dissolved Organic Matter
Local climates in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere are influenced by Arctic Amplification and by interactions of the Antarctic ozone hole with climate change, respectively. Polar changes may affect hydroclimatic conditions in temperate regions, for example, by increasing the length and intensity of precipitation events at Northern Hemisphere midlatitudes. Additionally, global warming has led to the thawing of ancient permafrost soils, particularly in Arctic regions, due to Arctic Amplification. Both heavy precipitation events and thawing of permafrost are increasing the net transfer of terrestrially derived dissolved organic matter (DOM) from land to surface waters. In aquatic ecosystems, UV-induced oxidation of terrigenous DOM (tDOM) produces atmospheric CO2 and this process is one of several mechanisms by which natural organic matter in aquatic and soil environments may play an important role in climate feedbacks. The Arctic is particularly affected by these processes: for example, melting of Arctic sea ice allows solar UV radiation to penetrate into the ice-free Arctic Ocean and to cause photochemical reactions that result in bleaching and mineralization of tDOM. Open questions, in addition to those shown in the Graphical Abstract, remain regarding the resulting contributions of tDOM photomineralization to CO2 production and global warming.