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Characterization of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from glacial environments using total fluorescence spectroscopy and parallel factor analysis

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Aquatic dissolved organic matter (DOM) is a major reservoir of reduced organic carbon and has a significant influence on heterotrophic biological productivity and water quality in marine and freshwater environments. Although the forms and transformations of DOM in temperate aquatic and soil environments have been studied extensively, this is not the case for glacial environments. In this study, fluorescent excitation–emission matrices (EEMs), parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) and cluster analysis were used to characterize the fluorescing components of DOM in ice and water samples from supraglacial, englacial, subglacial and proglacial environments of seven glaciers in the Canadian Arctic, Norway and Antarctica. At least five significant fluorescent DOM fractions were identified, which accounted for 98.2% of the variance in the dataset. These included four protein-like components and one humic-like component. The predominantly proteinaceous character of DOM from these glaciers is very different from the more humic character of DOM described previously from lacustrine, fluvial, estuarine and marine environments. DOM from the sampled glaciers is broadly similar in character despite their geographically distinct locations, different thermal regimes and inter- and intra-site differences in potential organic matter sources. Glacier ice samples had a relatively low ratio of humic-like : protein-like fluorescence while meltwater samples had a higher ratio.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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