Abstract. Future climate warming of the Arctic could potentially enhance the load of terrigenous dissolved organic carbon (tDOC) of Arctic rivers due to increased carbon mobilization within watersheds. A greater flux of tDOC might impact the biogeochemical processes of the coastal Arctic Ocean (AO) and ultimately its capacity to absorb atmospheric CO2. In this study, we show that sea-surface tDOC concentrations simulated by a physical–biogeochemical coupled model in the Canadian Beaufort Sea for 2003–2011 compare favorably with estimates retrieved by satellite imagery. Our results suggest that, over spring–summer, tDOC of riverine origin contributes to 35 % of primary production and that an equivalent of ∼ 10 % of tDOC is exported westwards with the potential of fueling the biological production of the eastern Alaskan nearshore waters. The combination of model and satellite data provides promising results to extend this work to the entire AO so as to quantify, in conjunction with in situ data, the expected changes in tDOC fluxes and their potential impact on the AO biogeochemistry at basin scale.