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Decoupling of carbon dioxide and dissolved organic carbon in boreal headwater streams
Stockholm Univ, Dept Phys Geog, Stockholm, Sweden.; Stockholm Univ, Bolin Ctr Climate Res, Stockholm, Sweden..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Forest Ecol & Management, Umea, Sweden.
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2016 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, ISSN 2169-8953, E-ISSN 2169-8961, Vol. 121, no 10, 2630-2651 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Streams and rivers emit large quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere. The sources of this CO2 are in-stream mineralization of organic carbon (OC) and CO2 input via groundwater inflow, but their relative importance is largely unknown. In this study, we quantified the role of in-stream OC mineralization as a source of CO2 in a number of nested boreal headwater streams. The results showed that mineralization of stream OC contributed 3% of CO2 supersaturation at time scales comparable to the estimated water travel times in the streams (<24h). Mass balances showed that downstream losses of OC were 3% in low-order streams, whereas up to 16% of the OC was lost in the largest (fourth order) streams. In contrast, 85% of the CO2 was lost along the stream network (longest total stream length=17km). Under the assumption that in-stream OC mineralization was the main source of stream CO2, higher rates of OC mineralization (6% of OC) than those reported across the literature (0.7% of OC) would be required to sustain observed CO2 supersaturation. Further, model results indicated that groundwater inflows were sufficient to sustain observed stream CO2 concentrations. We hence conclude that in-stream OC mineralization was a minor source of CO2 in these boreal headwater systems and that the main source of stream CO2 was inflowing groundwater transporting CO2 originating from soil respiration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 121, no 10, 2630-2651 p.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303871DOI: 10.1002/2016JG003420ISI: 000387774900009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-303871DiVA: diva2:974292
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilSwedish Research Council FormasThe Kempe Foundations
Available from: 2016-09-26 Created: 2016-09-26 Last updated: 2017-11-21Bibliographically approved

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