ORIGINAL PAPER
Water holding capacity of Russian Arctic soils (Lena River Delta and Yamal Peninsula)
 
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1
Sankt Petersburg State University, Department of Applied Ecology, 16 line 29 Vasilyevskiy Island, 199178, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
2
FSBI “Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute”, Beringa 38, St. Petersburg, 199397 Russia
3
Department of Soil Science and Agrochemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Saint-Petersburg State Agrarian University, Petersburg Highway 2, Pushkin, St. Petersburg, 196601, Russia
4
University of Zielona Góra, Institute of Environmental Engineering, 15 Prof. Z. Szafrana St., 65‑516 Zielona Góra, Poland
Submission date: 2019-01-22
Acceptance date: 2019-12-06
Online publication date: 2020-05-19
Publication date: 2020-05-19
 
Soil Sci. Ann., 2020, 71(1), 37–46
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Floodplains are one of the most dynamic and youngest areas of the Earth's Quaternary surface. They are located in transitional conditions (land-ocean) of the permafrost zone of present and of particular interest for ongoing geochemical processes and soil/water balance. The soil thermal and water regimes of polar soils are crucial for the development of vegetation cover as well as production, accumulation and redistribution of organic matter. This work characterizes the hydrological properties of soils formed in Russian Arctic. The data showed differences in water holding capacity between soils formed in conditions of seasonal flooding (soil stratification, redistribution of organic and mineral matter through the soil profile) and those not influenced by flooding in Lena River Delta (gradual decreasing of water holding capacity as a function of depth). Both of the soil profiles from the Yamal Peninsula are characterized by a gradually decreasing water-holding capacity with depth. The hydrological regime characteristics were strongly related to the depth of the active layer. The intensity and rate of the thawing/freezing processes depends on the features of the hydrological regime. In this study, significant differences were noted in the soil characteristics of the two study areas. That is why the profile values of water-holding capacity differed among the study sites. The predicted global climate change and high sensitivity of Arctic ecosystems may lead to significant changes in permafrost-affected landscapes and may alter their water regime in a very prominent way, as permafrost degrades and lateral and vertical water flow in the basins of large arctic rivers changes.
 
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