Research finds rivers, streams in U.S. super-saturated with carbon dioxide

Sponsored by
Stream lines form a tangled web in this image derived from a set of data on water flow. Credit: David Butman, Yale University

Oct. 26, 2011 -- Rivers and streams in the United States are releasing substantially more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than previously thought, according to recent findings by David Butman and Professor Peter Raymond of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The findings, part of Butman's PhD thesis, could change the way scientists model the movement of carbon between land, water, and the atmosphere.

Butman and Raymond found that a significant amount of carbon accumulated by plant growth on land is decomposed, discharged into streams and rivers, and outgassed as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. It is estimated that streams and rivers release almost 100 million metric tons of carbon each year. This release is equal to a car burning 40 billion gallons of gasoline, enough to drive back and forth to the moon 3.4 million times.

Water chemistry data from more than 4,000 rivers and streams throughout the United States were incorporated with detailed geospatial data to model the flux of carbon dioxide from water. The river and stream samples were collected at USGS gaging stations and the geospatial data was produced by both the USGS and EPA.

This research is being incorporated into the USGS LandCarbon effort to characterize the current and future fluxes of carbon influenced by both natural and anthropogenic processes. One part of this effort is looking at the potential for carbon storage in the Nation's vegetation, soils, and sediments, which is known as biological carbon sequestration.

For more information on that project, visit the National Assessment of Ecosystem Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes website: http://www.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/land_carbon/default.asp.

The findings were recently published in a Nature Geoscience article entitled "Significant efflux of carbon dioxide from streams and rivers in the United States" by David Butman and Professor Peter Raymond of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, as part of David's Ph.D. thesis. Funding for the study was from NASA, NSF, and the USGS. The article can be found at http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1294.html.

###

Sponsored by

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Water Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox or Mailbox

Subscribe to one of our magazines or email newsletters today at no cost and receive the latest information.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Sensus, BAI partner to deliver advanced digital infrastructure to Australia

Sensus and BAI have partnered to transform the utility-customer ecosystem in Australia. The companies will design, supply and install a digital infrastructure across the continent that will enable utilities to remotely and continuously monitor and diagnose problems.

Seattle releases citywide green infrastructure strategy to combat stormwater pollution

In light of polluted stormwater runoff threatening water quality in Puget Sound, Seattle Mayor Edward B. Murray released a draft citywide Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy, outlining plans to accelerate green infrastructure approaches for preventing water pollution.

New online USGS tool tracks nutrients, sediment in waterways across nation

Thanks to a new online tool from the U.S. Geological Survey, water professionals can now better access graphical summaries of nutrients and sediment levels in rivers and streams across the nation.

Holcim earns Gulf Guardian Award for industrial stormwater management efforts

Holcim Inc has received the First Place 2015 Gulf Guardian Award in the Business and Industry Category from the Environmental Protection Agency's Gulf of Mexico Program for its advanced stormwater management efforts.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  

 


© 2015. PennWell Corporation. All Rights Reserved. PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS