23 Dec 2020

23 Dec 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

CASCADE – The Circum-Arctic Sediment CArbon DatabasE

Jannik Martens1, Evgeny Romankevich2, Igor Semiletov3,4,5, Birgit Wild1, Bart van Dongen1,6, Jorien Vonk1,7, Tommaso Tesi1,8, Natalia Shakhova4,9, Oleg V. Dudarev3, Denis Kosmach3, Alexander Vetrov2, Leopold Lobkovsky2, Nikolay Belyaev2, Robie Macdonald10, Anna J. Pieńkowski11,a, Timothy I. Eglinton12, Negar Haghipour12, Salve Dahle13, Michael L. Carroll13, Emmelie K. L. Åström14, Jacqueline M. Grebmeier15, Lee W. Cooper15, Göran Possnert16, and Örjan Gustafsson1 Jannik Martens et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science and Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • 2Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Moscow, Russia
  • 3Pacific Oceanological Institute FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia
  • 4University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
  • 5Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Archangelsk, Russia
  • 6Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental Science, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 7Department of Earth Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 8Institute of Polar Sciences, National Research Council, Bologna, Italy
  • 9Scientific Centre Moscow State University (MSU)-Geophysics, Moscow, Russia
  • 10Institute of Ocean Sciences, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Sidney, Canada
  • 11Department of Arctic Geology, The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Svalbard, Norway
  • 12Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics and Geological Institute, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
  • 13Akvaplan-niva, FRAM - High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment, Tromsø, Norway
  • 14Department of Arctic and Marine Biology, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway
  • 15Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Solomons, USA
  • 16Department of Physics and Astronomy, Tandem Laboratory, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • acurrent address: Norwegian Polar Institute, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Abstract. Biogeochemical cycling in the extensive shelf seas and in the interior basins of the semi-enclosed Arctic Ocean are strongly influenced by land-ocean transport of carbon and other elements. The Arctic carbon cycle system is also inherently connected with the climate, and thus vulnerable to environmental and climate changes. Sediments of the Arctic Ocean are an active and integral part in Arctic biogeochemical cycling, and provide the opportunity to study present and historical input and fate of organic matter (e.g., through permafrost thawing).

To compare differences between the Arctic regions and to study Arctic biogeochemical budgets, comprehensive sedimentary records are required. To this end, the Circum-Arctic Sediment CArbon DatabasE (CASCADE) was established to curate data primarily on concentrations of organic carbon (OC) and OC isotopes (δ13C, Δ14C), yet also on total N (TN) as well as of terrigenous biomarkers and other sediment geochemical and physical properties drawn both from the published literature and from earlier unpublished records through an extensive international community collaboration.

This paper describes the establishment, structure and current status of CASCADE. This first public version includes OC concentrations in surface sediments at 4244 oceanographic stations including 2317 with TN concentrations, 1555 with δ13C-OC values, 268 with Δ14C-OC values and 653 records with quantified terrigenous biomarkers (high molecular weight n-alkanes, n-alkanoic acids and lignin phenols) distributed over the shelves and the central basins of the Arctic Ocean. CASCADE also includes data from 326 sediment cores, retrieved by shallow box- or multi-coring and deep gravity/piston coring, as well as sea-bottom drilling. The comprehensive dataset reveals several large-scale features, including clear differences in both OC content and isotope-based diagnostics of OC sources between the shelf sea recipients. This indicates, for instance, the release of strongly pre-aged terrigenous OC to the East Siberian Arctic shelf and younger terrigenous OC to the Kara Sea and thus provides clues about land-ocean transport of material released by thawing permafrost.

CASCADE enables synoptic analysis of OC in Arctic Ocean sediments and facilitates a wide array of future empirical and modelling studies of the Arctic carbon cycle. CASCADE is openly and freely available online (; Martens et al., 2020b), is provided in various machine-readable data formats (data tables, GIS shapefile, GIS raster), and also provides ways for contributing data for future CASCADE versions. CASCADE will be continuously updated with newly published and contributed data over the foreseeable future as part of the database management of the Bolin Centre for Climate Research at Stockholm University.

Jannik Martens et al.

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The Circum-Arctic Sediment Carbon Database – CASCADE Jannik Martens, Evgeny Romankevich, Igor Semiletov, Birgit Wild, Bart van Dongen, Jorien Vonk, Tommaso Tesi, Natalia Shakhova, Oleg V. Dudarev, Denis Kosmach, Alexander Vetrov, Leopold Lobkovsky, Nikolay Belyaev, Robie Macdonald, Anna J. Pieńkowski, Timothy I. Eglinton, Negar Haghipour, Salve Dahle, Michael L. Carroll, Emmelie K. L. Åström, Jacqueline M. Grebmeier, Lee W. Cooper, Göran Possnert, and Örjan Gustafsson

Jannik Martens et al.


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Short summary
The paper describes the establishment, structure and current status of the first Circum-Arctic Sediment CArbon DatabasE (CASCADE), which is a scientific effort to harmonize and curate all published and unpublished data of carbon, nitrogen, carbon isotopes and terrigenous biomarkers in sediments of the Arctic Ocean in one database. CASCADE will enable a variety of studies of the Arctic carbon cycle and thus contribute to a better understanding also of how climate change affects the Arctic.