US rivers and streams saturated with carbon

“These rivers breathe a lot of carbon,” said David Butman, a doctoral student and co-author of a study with Pete Raymond, professor of ecosystem ecology, both at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. “They are a source of CO2, just like we breathe CO2 and like smokestacks emit CO2, and this has never been systematically estimated from a region as large as the United States.”

The researchers assert that a significant amount of carbon contained in land, which first is absorbed by plants and forests through the air, is leaking into streams and rivers and then released into the atmosphere before reaching coastal waterways.

“What we are able to show is that there is a source of atmospheric CO2 from streams and rivers, and that it is significant enough for terrestrial modelers to take note of it,” said Butman.

They analyzed samples taken by the United States Geological Survey from over 4,000 rivers and streams throughout the United States, and incorporated highly detailed geospatial data to model the flux of carbon dioxide from water. This release of carbon, said Butman, is the same as a car burning 40 billion gallons of gasoline.

The paper, titled “Significant Efflux of Carbon Dioxide from Streams and Rivers in the United States,” also indicates that as the climate heats up there will be more rain and snow, and that an increase in precipitation will result in even more terrestrial carbon flowing into rivers and streams and being released into the atmosphere.

“This would mean that any estimate between carbon uptake in the biosphere and carbon being released through respiration in the biosphere will be even less likely to balance and must include the carbon in streams and rivers,” he said.

The researchers note in the paper that currently it is impossible to determine exactly how to include this flux in regional carbon budgets, because the influence of human activity on the release of CO2 into streams and rivers is still unknown.

The research was funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the United States Geological Survey and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Media Contact

David DeFusco EurekAlert!

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.yale.edu

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Earth Sciences

Earth Sciences (also referred to as Geosciences), which deals with basic issues surrounding our planet, plays a vital role in the area of energy and raw materials supply.

Earth Sciences comprises subjects such as geology, geography, geological informatics, paleontology, mineralogy, petrography, crystallography, geophysics, geodesy, glaciology, cartography, photogrammetry, meteorology and seismology, early-warning systems, earthquake research and polar research.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

A rich source of nutrients under the Earth’s ice sheets

Data from Greenland and Antarctica show: under ice trace elements are mobilised at higher rates than previously assumed. Trace elements such as iron, manganese and zinc are an integral part…

Life cycle of moon jellyfish depends on the microbiome

Research team at Kiel University uses Aurelia aurita as an example to demonstrate the relationship between microbial colonization and reproduction in marine cnidarians The body tissue of all multicellular living…

Fraunhofer IWM closes gaps in the mechanics of materials digital value chain

The greatest potential of digitalization in companies in which materials play a prominent role lies in the cross-process linking of materials data. This promises to shorten component development times, faster…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close