Received: 28 Sep 2015 – Discussion started: 10 Dec 2015
Abstract. Quantitative understanding of the variation in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is important to studying the terrestrial ecosystem carbon cycle. This study presents a process-based, dissolved organic carbon dynamics model (DOCDM 1.0) that couples the soil heat conduction, water flow, DOC production, mineralization and transport in both surface and subsurface of soil profile to quantify DOC dynamics in boreal terrestrial ecosystems. The model is first evaluated and then applied for a watershed in Alaska to investigate its DOC production and transport. We find that 42 and 27 % of precipitation infiltrates to soils in 2004, a warmer year, and in 1976, a colder year, respectively. Under warming conditions, DOC transported via overland flow does not show the expected decrease trend while the overland DOC yield shows a 4 % increase. The horizontal subsurface flow only accounts for 1–2 % of total water flux, but transports 30–50 % of DOC into rivers. Water flush due to water infiltration controls DOC transport. Snowmelt plays a noticeable role in DOC flush-out and DOC transport significantly depends on flowpaths in the study region. High soil temperature stimulates DOC production. The overland DOC export does not necessarily follow the DOC downward trend in surface water transport. Overall, this study shows that DOC export behavior is complex under changing temperature and hydrological conditions in cold-region watersheds. To adequately quantify DOC dynamics in northern high latitudes, more DOC and hydrological data are needed to better parameterize and test the developed model before extrapolating it to the region.
How to cite. Lu, X. and Zhuang, Q.: An integrated Dissolved Organic Carbon Dynamics Model (DOCDM 1.0): model development and a case study in the Alaskan Yukon River Basin, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss., 8, 10411–10454, https://doi.org/10.5194/gmdd-8-10411-2015, 2015.