Abstract

An important control on river biogeochemistry and sediment load is the process of water exchange between primary channels and the flood plain, particularly in low-relief areas containing lakes, ephemeral channels, and other aquatic ecosystems. Flood-plain exchange may be a dominant process on the lowland rivers of Arctic Russia, which are among the world's largest in water discharge yet are strikingly deficient in their delivery of sediment to the Arctic shelf. Temporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) amplitude and interferometric images of the Ob' River, Siberia, reveal a time-varying limnological network controlling water, sediment, and nutrient exchange between flood-plain wetlands and the main channel. The amount of hydrologic exchange decreases by one order of magnitude from June to September, enhancing sedimentation over as much as 90% of the flood plain and enriching channel waters with colloidal organic carbon. This observation, combined with Russian field measurements of water discharge and sediment load, indicates that a major sediment sink on the lower Ob' flood plain may be responsible for the low amount of sediment delivery by the Ob' River to its estuary and the Kara Sea.

You do not currently have access to this article.