Remote lakes are usually unaffected by direct human inﬂ uence, yet they receive inputs of atmospheric pollutants, dust, and other aerosols, both inorganic and organic. In remote, alpine lakes, these atmospheric inputs may inﬂ uence the pool of dissolved organic matter, a critical constituent for the biogeochemical functioning of aquatic ecosystems. Here, to assess this inﬂ uence, we evaluate factors related to aerosol deposition, climate, catchment properties, and microbial constituents in a global dataset of 86 alpine and polar lakes. We show signiﬁcant latitudinal trends in dissolved organic matter quantity and quality, and uncover new evidence that this geographic pattern is inﬂ uenced by dust deposition, ﬂux of incident ultraviolet radiation, and bacterial processing. Our results suggest that changes in land use and climate that result in increasing dust ﬂ ux, ultraviolet radiation, and air temperature may act to shift the optical quality of dissolved organic matter in clear, alpine lakes.