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Solute fluxes in the Kidisjoki catchment, subarctic Finnish Lapland

Transports en solution dans le bassin versant du Kidisjoki, Laponie subarctique, Finlande
Achim A. Beylich, Karl-Heinz Schmidt, Seppo Neuvonen, Inke Forbrich et Anne Schildt

Résumés

Le bilan hydrique, la chimie des eaux et les transferts en solution ont été étudiés dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki (18 km2 ; 75 à 365 m d’altitude ; 69º47’N et 27º05’E) en Laponie finlandaise. L’aire d’étude fait partie du Bouclier baltique, d’âge précambrien et composé essentiellement de gneiss et de granulites. Nous estimons que la dénudation chimique dans le bassin versant est de l’ordre de 2,9 t.km2.a-1. La variabilité spatio-temporelle de la charge en solution dans le bassin versant semble être influencée par des variations spatiales de la persistance du gélisol hivernal et de l’épaisseur du régolithe. En dépit de la faible intensité de l’altération chimique et de la faible concentration des solutions dans les eaux superficielles, l’altération chimique semble être plus importante que l’érosion fluviale et pourrait être le principal processus de dénudation de cet environnement subarctique.

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Notes de la rédaction

Acknowledgements

Research in Kidisjoki/Kevo was facilitated by EU FP5 LAPBIAT and logistically supported by the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute (Finland), by the Institute of Geography of Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/S. (Germany), and by the Department of Earth Sciences of Uppsala University (Sweden). We thank J. Dixon, an anonymous referee, and the Journal’s editorial committee for his critical and helpful comment on the manuscrit.

Texte intégral

Introduction

1Subarctic rivers, forming an important part of the subarctic ecosystem, are still not very well represented in the literature (Beylich, 1999, 2002 ; Beylich et al., 2004, 2005 ; Campbell et al., 2002 ; Dankers, 2002). This preliminary report presents some data from a monitoring programme that was initiated in 2002 in the Kidisjoki catchment, in northern Finnish Lapland. The main focus of the study is on the intensity and relative importance of chemical processes in this subarctic environment. The Kevo region (fig. 1) belongs geologically to the Baltic shield, and the bedrock consists mainly of gneisses and granulites. The dominant mineral soil is glacial till (Okko, 1960), constisting of poorly sorted sand and silt with a high abundance of gravels. It is mostly covered by younger biogenic deposits and, over large areas, by relatively thin layers of forest humus or by varying thicknesses of sedge and moss peat. Clay deposits are mostly absent due to the supra-aquatic conditions following the continental ice melt. The cool climate and acid soil create favourable conditions for podsolization (Aaltonen, 1952). C.R. Lloyd et al. (1999) describe the climate of northern Fennoscandia as oceanic. Maritime influence decreases eastward with increasing distance from the ocean and the Scandes. The average annual rainfall in northern Fennoscandia decreases eastward from 1000 mm at Tromsø, to mean annual precipitation of 468 mm at Kevo. Between 30 and 40% of the precipitation at Kevo falls as summer rainfall (Hämet-Ahti, 1963). The thickness of the winter snow cover can vary considerably from a general average of 0.5–0.8 m. The average winter snow cover tends to reach a maximum at the end of March before snowmelt begins. On average, snow cover has usually disappeared by the end of The first autumn snowfalls beginning in September and permanent snow cover occurs after the beginning of October. The prevailing winds are from W and SW. The seasonal wind directions change, however, so that NE, W, and N winds dominate during summer (Venho, 1958). This increases mild, oceanic conditions at the site, whereas during winter winds blow more from the W, SW, and S (Seppälä, 1976). The growing season lasts from 110 to 120 days. The area is located in the continental section of the subalpine mountain birch forest vegetation zone (Wielgolaski, 2001). The dominant vegetation in the region is mountain birch woodland, while areas above 300–350 m a.s.l. are treeless alpine heaths (Heikkinen and Kaaliola, 1989). Mires are common. Isolated Scots pine stands occur in the milder climate on the floor of Utsjoki river valley (Kallio et al., 1969). The region occurs both latitudinally and altitudinally in the timberline zone. The timberline is mainly controlled by climate, although other natural and anthropogenic factors are important, at least locally. Extreme climatic and biotic events regulate the growth and occurrence of trees : for example insects can sometimes cause damage over large areas. In northern Fennoscandia the larvae of geometrid Eppirita autumnata destroyed thousands of square kilometres of birch woods in Lapland in 1965–1966 (Kallio and Lehtonen, 1973). These areas still show significant differences with respect to undefoliated areas. The affected areas are likely to turn into tundra-like vegetation under the present climatic conditions (Haapasaari, 1988) and due to reindeer grazing (Heikkinen et al., 2002).

Fig. 1 – The Kidisjoki catchment (18 km2) and its location in Finnish Lapland (NE of Kevo).
Fig. 1 – Le basin versant de Kidisjoki (18 km2) et sa localisation en Laponie Finlandaise (NE de Kevo).

Fig. 1 – The Kidisjoki catchment (18 km2) and its location in Finnish Lapland (NE of Kevo). Fig. 1 – Le basin versant de Kidisjoki (18 km2) et sa localisation en Laponie Finlandaise (NE de Kevo).

A : Map of Finland showing the site of the Kilidisjoki catchment near Kevo. B : Map of the Kidisjoki catchment showing measurement sites and tributaries. 1 : main catchments ; 2 : subcatchment MP3 ; 3 : subcatchment MP8 ; 4 : channel ; 5 : flow gauge ; 6 : rain gauge (overview map Scandinavia : www.utu.fi/erill/kevo ; overview map Kidisjoki catchment based on TM 1/20000 Patoniva.
A : Carte de la Finlande montrant le site du bassin versant de Kevo. B : Carte du bassin versant et sites de mesures. 1 : bassin versant principal ; 2 : bassin versant secondaire MP3 ; 3 : bassin versant secondaire MP8 ; 4 : chenal ; 5 : limnigraphe ; 6 : pluviomètre (sources : carte de la Scandinavie, www.utu.fi/erill/kevo ; carte du bassin versant du Kidisjoki d’après carte topographique au 1/20000).

Methods

Table 1 – Description of selected sampling sites in the Kidisjoki catchment.
Tableau 1 – Description des sites d’échantillonnage choisis dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki.

Table 1 – Description of selected sampling sites in the Kidisjoki catchment.Tableau 1 – Description des sites d’échantillonnage choisis dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki.

2Runoff was determined by daily monitoring of water level and stream current velocity (Ott-propeller C2) in creeks at selected sites within the Kidisjoki catchment (see selected sites in fig. 1 and table 1). Culverts installed at road crossings facilitated measurement and allowed precise measurement of discharge by their clearly defined cross section. Discharge (m3.s–1) was calculated by multiplying the velocity (m.s–1) by the corresponding cross-section area. Specific runoff (mm.d–1) was calculated by dividing the daily discharge by the contributing (sub)catchment area. The areas were determined with help of available topographical maps 1 :20,000. Daily precipitation was measured using a standard Hellmann totalisator with a 200 cm2 surface area (see location of the Hellmann totalisator within the catchment in fig. 1). As a basis for the determination of the total amount of dissolved solids (TDS), electric conductivity (reference 20 ºC), pH, and temperature of surface water were monitored daily at the different sampling points within the Kidisjoki catchment. At selected measuring points water samples for chemical analyses were taken at weekly intervals with 1-litre, wide-necked sampling bottles, filtered and stored in 200 ml bottles in a freezing room in the laboratories of the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute. Snow samples were collected before the beginning of snow melt along defined profiles within the catchment. The snow samples were melted, filtered and stored in 200 ml bottles in the freeze room of the laboratories of the Kevo Subarctic Research Institute. Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Cl, F, Br, and SO42– were analyzed after the field campaign using ion chromatography on a Dionex 120 at the physio-geographical-geoecological laboratory of the Institute of Geography, University of Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale. Detector sensitivity does not cover the lowermost values of certain ions like Br (therefore not included in table 2) even though they are included in the chemical composition of the water. Therefore the samples were also analyzed with a different calibration range on a Dionex 600.

Table 2 – Solute concentrations in precipitation and surface water at different sampling sites in the Kidisjoki catchment.
Tableau 2 – Concentrations des solutions dans les précipations et dans l’eau de surface aux différents sites d’échantillonnage dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki.

Table 2 – Solute concentrations in precipitation and surface water at different sampling sites in the Kidisjoki catchment.Tableau 2 – Concentrations des solutions dans les précipations et dans l’eau de surface aux différents sites d’échantillonnage dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki.

Results

Fig. 2 – Hydrograph including precipitation at measuring point 4 from 16 May to 2 August 2003.
Fig. 2 – Hydrogramme montrant également les précipitations au point de mesure 4, du 16 mai au 2 août 2003.

Fig. 2 – Hydrograph including precipitation at measuring point 4 from 16 May to 2 August 2003.Fig. 2 – Hydrogramme montrant également les précipitations au point de mesure 4, du 16 mai au 2 août 2003.

3Snowmelt in spring releases a large amount of water. Within a short time, this leaves the basin with 30% of the entire amount of melting snow being discharged during the first few days of the snow melt season. The remainder is released after 4-6 weeks (fig. 2). Due to frozen ground and observed sheets of ice at the base of the snow layer, infiltration and storage are inhibited at the time of most intensive snow melt (see also Dankers, 2002 ; Beylich and Gintz, 2004 ; Beylich et al., 2005). In summer, precipitation predominantly occurs in the form of heavy rainfall events of short duration, followed by observed overland flow and direct stream discharge. Consequently, at the time of highest water availability, the water storage capacity is lowest (see also Dankers, 2002 ; Beylich, 2005). Figure 3 shows the negative correlation between the concentration of dissolved solids (TDS) and runoff for sampling point 4 (fig. 1).

Fig. 3 – Correlation between TDS (total amount of dissolved solids) and runoff (discharge) at measuring point 4, summer 2003.
Fig. 3 – Corrélation entre TDS (charge dissoute totale) et ruissellement (débit) au point de mesure 4, été 2003.

Fig. 3 – Correlation between TDS (total amount of dissolved solids) and runoff (discharge) at measuring point 4, summer 2003.Fig. 3 – Corrélation entre TDS (charge dissoute totale) et ruissellement (débit) au point de mesure 4, été 2003.

4Water chemistry is clearly dominated by Na+, Ca2+, Cl, and SO42– (fig. 4, table 2). These elements are at least partly supplied by sea salt (Ruoho-Airola et al., 2003), indicating a strong oceanic influence for northern Finland. This dominance of oceanic influence is also evidenced by an ion balance of sodium and chloride of snow samples, assuming that sea aerosols is the only source for sodium ions (Ruoho-Airola et al., 2003).

Fig. 4 – Spatial and temporal variability of ion composition : Na, K, Mg,Ca, Cl, SO4.
Fig. 4 – Variabilité spatiale et temporelle de la composition des ions : sodium, potassium, magnésium, calcium, chlorure, sulfate.

Fig. 4 – Spatial and temporal variability of ion composition : Na, K, Mg,Ca, Cl, SO4. Fig. 4 – Variabilité spatiale et temporelle de la composition des ions : sodium, potassium, magnésium, calcium, chlorure, sulfate.

Location of MP3, 4, 8, 14 : see fig. 1.
Localisation de MP3, 4, 8, 14 : voir fig. 1.

Fig. 5 – Statistical correlation between discharge and element-wise concentrations at measuring point 4.
Fig. 5 – Corrélation statistique entre le débit et la concentration des éléments significatifs (Na, K, Mg, Ca) au point de mesure 4.

Fig. 5 – Statistical correlation between discharge and element-wise concentrations at measuring point 4. Fig. 5 – Corrélation statistique entre le débit et la concentration des éléments significatifs (Na, K, Mg, Ca) au point de mesure 4.

c : element concentration ; Linear (cCa.m.l-1) : Linear regression for calcium concentration (mg/l-1).
c : concentration ; Linear (cCa.mg.-1) : droite de la régression linéaire pour la concentration en calcium (mg.l-1).

5A statistical correlation between discharge and share of elements in TDS reveals that there is a very weak relationship between these two parameters (fig. 5). Following R. Dankers (2002), the reason might be a weak correlation between the water level in the wetlands and peatlands and the discharge in the main channel. This connection has not been examined in this study, so no closer approaches to this relation are possible at the moment. Figure 6 shows measured conductivity values of some rivers in northernmost Finnish Lapland on two different days in May 2003. The values from Kidisjoki range among the average and high values. The temporal difference of five days shows that there is a diluting effect which decreases as the snow melt ceases and the discharge values are about to fall slowly (see also fig. 2). After the end of high discharge values from snowmelt water, the values rise due to diminishing discharge. Since measured concentrations of dissolved solids are relatively stable over time (Clark, 1988) it appears possible to estimate annual TDS yields for the Kidisjoki catchment and for defined sub-catchments (fig. 1, table 1). Estimation of annual runoff is based on values of annual precipitation and evaporation. In Kevo, mean annual rainfall for the period 1962–1967 is 468 mm (Hämet-Ahti, 1963) and yearly evaporation is estimated for northernmost Finland as 150 mm (Vakkilainen, 1986). This value is a rough estimation from recent investigations, which show that at least in summer evaporation makes up for a large part of precipitation (Dankers, 2002 ; Harding et al., 2002). Based on these data, 64% of annual rainfall contributes to runoff. TDSmean for the catchment is derived from the samples taken in the field season : 25.0 mg.l–1 (MP4), 22.8 mg.l–1 (MP3), 17.0 mg.l–1 (MP8) and 25. mg l–1 (MP14) (fig. 1, table 1 and table 2). Atmospheric solute inputs can be estimated as 5.1 t.km–2.yr–1, based on annual precipitation of 415 mm and a TDSmean of 12.4 mg l–1, derived from snow and rain water samples. The calculated output ranges from 0.3 t.km–2.yr–1 (MP8) to 2.9 t.km–2.yr–1 (MP4), indicating an altogether low intensity of chemical weathering and denudation.

Fig. 6 – Comparison of conductivity values measured in different rivers in northernmost Finnish Lapland in May 2003.
Fig. 6 – Comparaison entre les valeurs de conductivité mesurées dans différentes rivières de l’extrême nord de la Laponie finlandaise.

Fig. 6 – Comparison of conductivity values measured in different rivers in northernmost Finnish Lapland in May 2003.Fig. 6 – Comparaison entre les valeurs de conductivité mesurées dans différentes rivières de l’extrême nord de la Laponie finlandaise.

Conclusions

6Qualitative as well as quantitative analyses carried out in 2003 indicate low chemical activity in the study area. Chemical denudation in the Kidisjoki catchment seems to be in the range of 2.9 t.km–2.yr–1. Spatio-temporal variability of measured solute yields within the catchment might be influenced by observed spatial variations in winter ground-frost duration and regolith thicknesses. Water chemistry is partly dominated by elements that are imported into the system. Given the low concentration values for the elements in streamwater, it might be useful to expand analyses to the range of μg.l–1. The probable concentration of iron, manganese, and other elements are presumed to be in this range. In spite of the low intensity of chemical weathering and the low solute concentrations in the surface water, chemical denudation seems to be more important than mechanical fluvial denudation. Very low suspended concentrations were measured during the sampling periods and high stability of channel pavements was observed as indicated by high stability of tracer lines (i.e. painted stone lines, which were installed at several locations in the creeks). Chemical weathering might therefore be the most important denudational process in this subarctic environment. The monitoring programme has to be continued over several years (at least 5 years in total) to calculate reliable denudation rates for the Kidisjoki catchment.

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Annexe

Version française abrégée

Le bilan hydrique, la chimie des eaux et les transferts en solution ont été étudiés dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki (18 km2 ; 75–365 m d’altitude ; 69°47’N, 27°05’E ; fig. 1) en Laponie finlandaise. Cet article préliminaire présente les données d’une étude stationnelle menée depuis 2002 (Beylich, 2002). L’aire d’étude fait partie du Bouclier baltique, d’âge précambrien et composé essentiellement de gneiss et de granulites. Le bassin versant est en grande partie couvert d’une forêt de bouleaux ou d’une lande de type alpin. Quelques zones marécageuses occupent certains sous-bassins versants et de larges champs de blocs sont également répandus dans la zone d’étude. Un changement majeur du couvert végétal est survenu dans les années 1960 lorsque les bétulaies d’altitude furent décimées par une invasion de la chenille d’Epirrita autumnata, un lépidoptère. Les impacts anthropiques directs sont liés à la construction d’une route à travers le bassin versant et à la présence de quelques hameaux. Les autres impacts anthropiques sont associés au broutage intense des rennes qui ont pu empêcher la regénération des bouleaux après cette destruction par les insectes. Les débits liquides ont été mesurés aux exutoires des différents sous-bassins versants, ainsi qu’à l’exutoire principal du bassin versant de Kidisjoki. Les valeurs de pH, la charge dissoute totale (TDS) et la composition ionique des stocks neigeux, des précipitations et des eaux superficielles ont été analysées à partir d’échantillons prélevés durant l’été 2003 en divers sites de l’aire d’étude. La chimie des eaux est dominée par Na+, Ca2+, Clet SO42– ; les valeurs de pH des eaux superficielles sont normalement comprises entre 6.3 et 6.5 (tab. 2). L’altération et la dénudation semblent être faibles dans cet environnement subarctique. Les apports atmosphériques en solution sont estimés à 5,1 t.km-2.a-1 sur la base de précipitations annuelles moyennes de 415 mm et du total moyen de la charge dissoute de 12,4 mg.l-1, données dérivées des stocks neigeux et des précipitations relevés. Nous estimons que la dénudation chimique dans le bassin versant est de l’ordre de 2,9 t.km-2.a-1. La variabilité spatio-temporelle des transports en solution dans le bassin versant semble être influencée par des variations spatiales de la persistance du gélisol hivernal et de l’épaisseur du régolithe. En dépit de la faible intensité de l’altération et de la faible concentration des solutions dans les eaux superficielles, l’altération chimique semble être plus importante que l’érosion fluviale et pourrait être le principal processus de dénudation dans cet environnement subarctique.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – The Kidisjoki catchment (18 km2) and its location in Finnish Lapland (NE of Kevo). Fig. 1 – Le basin versant de Kidisjoki (18 km2) et sa localisation en Laponie Finlandaise (NE de Kevo).
Légende A : Map of Finland showing the site of the Kilidisjoki catchment near Kevo. B : Map of the Kidisjoki catchment showing measurement sites and tributaries. 1 : main catchments ; 2 : subcatchment MP3 ; 3 : subcatchment MP8 ; 4 : channel ; 5 : flow gauge ; 6 : rain gauge (overview map Scandinavia : www.utu.fi/erill/kevo ; overview map Kidisjoki catchment based on TM 1/20000 Patoniva.A : Carte de la Finlande montrant le site du bassin versant de Kevo. B : Carte du bassin versant et sites de mesures. 1 : bassin versant principal ; 2 : bassin versant secondaire MP3 ; 3 : bassin versant secondaire MP8 ; 4 : chenal ; 5 : limnigraphe ; 6 : pluviomètre (sources : carte de la Scandinavie, www.utu.fi/erill/kevo ; carte du bassin versant du Kidisjoki d’après carte topographique au 1/20000).
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Titre Table 1 – Description of selected sampling sites in the Kidisjoki catchment.Tableau 1 – Description des sites d’échantillonnage choisis dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki.
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Titre Table 2 – Solute concentrations in precipitation and surface water at different sampling sites in the Kidisjoki catchment.Tableau 2 – Concentrations des solutions dans les précipations et dans l’eau de surface aux différents sites d’échantillonnage dans le bassin versant de Kidisjoki.
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Titre Fig. 2 – Hydrograph including precipitation at measuring point 4 from 16 May to 2 August 2003.Fig. 2 – Hydrogramme montrant également les précipitations au point de mesure 4, du 16 mai au 2 août 2003.
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Titre Fig. 3 – Correlation between TDS (total amount of dissolved solids) and runoff (discharge) at measuring point 4, summer 2003.Fig. 3 – Corrélation entre TDS (charge dissoute totale) et ruissellement (débit) au point de mesure 4, été 2003.
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Titre Fig. 4 – Spatial and temporal variability of ion composition : Na, K, Mg,Ca, Cl, SO4. Fig. 4 – Variabilité spatiale et temporelle de la composition des ions : sodium, potassium, magnésium, calcium, chlorure, sulfate.
Légende Location of MP3, 4, 8, 14 : see fig. 1.Localisation de MP3, 4, 8, 14 : voir fig. 1.
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Titre Fig. 5 – Statistical correlation between discharge and element-wise concentrations at measuring point 4. Fig. 5 – Corrélation statistique entre le débit et la concentration des éléments significatifs (Na, K, Mg, Ca) au point de mesure 4.
Légende c : element concentration ; Linear (cCa.m.l-1) : Linear regression for calcium concentration (mg/l-1).c : concentration ; Linear (cCa.mg.-1) : droite de la régression linéaire pour la concentration en calcium (mg.l-1).
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Titre Fig. 6 – Comparison of conductivity values measured in different rivers in northernmost Finnish Lapland in May 2003.Fig. 6 – Comparaison entre les valeurs de conductivité mesurées dans différentes rivières de l’extrême nord de la Laponie finlandaise.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/geomorphologie/docannexe/image/163/img-8.png
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Référence électronique

Achim A. Beylich, Karl-Heinz Schmidt, Seppo Neuvonen, Inke Forbrich et Anne Schildt, « Solute fluxes in the Kidisjoki catchment, subarctic Finnish Lapland », Géomorphologie : relief, processus, environnement [En ligne], vol. 12 - n° 3 | 2006, mis en ligne le 01 octobre 2008, consulté le 17 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/geomorphologie/163 ; DOI : 10.4000/geomorphologie.163

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