Next Article in Journal
Modelling and Simulation of Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations Driven by High Speed Railway Systems
Previous Article in Journal
Achievement of Fuel Savings in Wheel Loader by Applying Hydrodynamic Mechanical Power Split Transmissions
Article Menu
Issue 9 (September) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Energies 2017, 10(9), 1265;

Spatial Variation in Sediment Organic Carbon Distribution across the Alaskan Beaufort Sea Shelf

Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX 78412, USA
Department of Oceanography, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD 21402, USA
Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Marine Biogeochemistry, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 June 2017 / Revised: 22 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
Full-Text   |   PDF [1920 KB, uploaded 25 August 2017]   |  


In September 2009, a series of sediment cores were collected across the Alaskan Beaufort Sea shelf-slope. Sediment and porewater organic carbon (OC) concentrations and stable carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) were measured to investigate spatial variations in sediment organic matter (OM) sources and distribution of these materials across the shelf. Cores were collected along three main nearshore (shelf) to offshore (slope) sampling lines (transects) from east-to-west along the North Slope of Alaska: Hammerhead (near Camden Bay), Thetis Island (near Prudhoe Bay), and Cape Halkett (towards Point Barrow). Measured sediment organic carbon (TOC) and porewater dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and their respective δ13C values were used to investigate the relative contribution of different OM sources to sediment OC pool cycled at each location. Sources of OM considered included: water column-sourced phytodetritus, deep sediment methane (CH4), and terrestrial, tundra/river-sourced OM. Results of these measurements, when coupled with results from previous research and additional analyses of sediment and porewater composition, show a pattern of spatial variation in sediment OC concentrations, OM source contributions, and OM cycled along the Alaskan Beaufort Sea shelf. In general, measured sediment total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations, δ13CTOC values, porewater DOC concentrations, and δ13CDOC values are consistent with an east-to-west transport of modern Holocene sediments with higher OC concentrations primarily sourced from relatively labile terrestrial, tundra OM sources and phytodetritus along the Alaskan Beaufort shelf. Sediment transport along the shelf results in the medium-to-long term accumulation and burial of sediment OM focused to the west which in turn results in higher biogenic CH4 production rates and higher upward CH4 diffusion through the sediments resulting in CH4AMO-sourced contribution to sediment OC westward along the shelf. Understanding current OM sources and distributions along the Alaskan Beaufort shelf is important for enhancing models of carbon cycling in Arctic coastal shelf systems. This will help support the prediction of the climate response of the Arctic created in the face of future warming scenarios. View Full-Text
Keywords: Beaufort Sea; methane; tundra; organic carbon; stable isotopes; sediment; porewater Beaufort Sea; methane; tundra; organic carbon; stable isotopes; sediment; porewater

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Coffin, R.B.; Smith, J.P.; Yoza, B.; Boyd, T.J.; Montgomery, M.T. Spatial Variation in Sediment Organic Carbon Distribution across the Alaskan Beaufort Sea Shelf. Energies 2017, 10, 1265.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Energies EISSN 1996-1073 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top