• dissolved organic carbon;
  • chromophoric dissolved organic matter;
  • Arctic river

[1] The quality and quantity of dissolved organic matter (DOM) exported by Arctic rivers is known to vary with hydrology and this exported material plays a fundamental role in the biogeochemical cycling of carbon at high latitudes. We highlight the potential of optical measurements to examine DOM quality across the hydrograph in Arctic rivers. Furthermore, we establish chromophoric DOM (CDOM) relationships to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and lignin phenols in the Yukon River and model DOC and lignin loads from CDOM measurements, the former in excellent agreement with long-term DOC monitoring data. Intensive sampling across the historically under-sampled spring flush period highlights the importance of this time for total export of DOC and particularly lignin. Calculated riverine DOC loads to the Arctic Ocean show an increase from previous estimates, especially when new higher discharge data are incorporated. Increased DOC loads indicate decreased residence times for terrigenous DOM in the Arctic Ocean with important implications for the reactivity and export of this material to the Atlantic Ocean.