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

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Xylem appoints new vice president, chief human resources officer

Xylem announced that it has appointed Kairus Taraporet as the company's senior vice president and chief human Resources officer, effective July 27, 2015.

EPA seeking public input on phosphorus reduction targets for Lake Erie algal blooms

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is seeking public input on proposed phosphorus reduction targets to combat harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

De Nora completes acquisition of Severn Trent's Water Purification group

De Nora has announced the completion of the acquisition of Severn Trent Services' Water Purification group. The new business title, called De Nora Water Technologies, will be focused on delivering sustainable and innovative water and wastewater technologies.

USACE signs partnership agreement with MS city mayors for water-related projects

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Vicksburg District of Mississippi recently announced that it has entered into a Partnership Project Agreement with mayors of several communities throughout the state.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  

 


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