Influence of the Active Layer Thickness of Permafrost in Eastern Siberia on the River Discharge of Nutrients into the Arctic Ocean

Olga I. Gabysheva, Viktor A. Gabyshev, Sophia Barinova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large rivers are important links between continents and oceans for material flows that have a global impact on marine biogeochemistry. Processes in the catchment areas of large rivers can affect the flow of solutes into the global ocean. The goal was to determine how the concentration of individual components of nutrients in the rivers of Eastern Siberia changes depending on the active layer thickness of the permafrost (ALT) and to elucidate whether the ALT is a factor that can control nutrient flux to the Arctic Ocean. The method of canonical correlation analysis was applied to the data on the concentration of nutrients in the 12 largest rivers of Eastern Siberia and the active layer thickness in their catchments. We found that the concentration of nutrients such as ammonium ion (NH4) and total phosphorus (Ptotal) in river waters is higher in catchments with a deeper active layer. The waters of the mountain rivers in the south of the region (the Chara and Vitim rivers) are the richest in nutrients. Arctic rivers such as the Indigirka and Anabar were low in nutrients. The permeability of soils also affects the discharge of nutrients into rivers with surface runoff. We conclude that in the future, in the context of global climatic changes and the projected deepening of the active layer throughout the permafrost zone of the Northern Hemisphere, an increase in the supply of nutrients to the Arctic Ocean is possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number84
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The research was carried out within the state assignment of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation (theme No. 0297-2021-0026, reg. No. AAAA-A21-121012190036-6).

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This work was partly supported by the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Ammonium ion
  • East Siberian catchments
  • Permafrost
  • Rivers
  • Surface runoff
  • Total phosphorus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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