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Carbon dioxide in agricultural streams: Magnitude and patterns of an understudied atmospheric carbon source
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The role of streams in the global carbon budget was for a long time neglected, since they were considered passive transporters of carbon from land to sea. However, studies have shown that streams are often supersaturated in carbon dioxide (CO2), making them sources of carbon to the atmosphere. The main sources of stream CO2 are in-stream mineralization of organic matter and transport of carbon from the catchment. The catchment derived CO2 could both be of biogenic (respiration) or geogenic (weathering) origin. Most studies regarding the topic rely on measurements carried out in forest-dominated catchments, while agricultural streams are under-represented. The objective of this study was to examine partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) in streams in catchments dominated by agriculture. This was done to increase the knowledge about agricultural influence on stream pCO2, and to provide a basis for planning mitigation strategies for reducing CO2 emissions from the agriculture sector.

Sampling was performed in ten streams draining agriculture-dominated catchments around Uppsala, Sweden, from June to November 2017. Measurements of pCO2 were carried out with floating chambers, equipped with CO2 sensors. Nutrients, organic carbon, discharge and different chemical variables were also measured. For correlation tests, the method Kendall’s Tau was used. Catchments were delineated in a geographic information system (GIS) and the CORINE Land Cover dataset was used to examine land use.

Stream specific median pCO2 varied from 3000 to 10 000 μatm. In some streams, pCO2 exceeded 10 000 μatm, which was outside of the sensor’s measurement range. Values of pCO2 were high compared to similar studies in forested catchments, which could indicate that occurrence of agriculture in the catchment increases stream CO2. Correlation was found between pCO2 and discharge, with negative correlation in five streams and positive correlation in two. Negative correlation was found between pCO2 and pH and percentage of dissolved oxygen, respectively. No significant correlation was found between pCO2 and fraction of agricultural land use, nutrients or organic carbon. Further studies are needed to examine the sources of CO2, since it is possible that a large part of the CO2 has a geogenic origin. The floating chamber method should be revised to reduce the sensor’s sensitivity to condensation and cold temperatures, and to increase the measuring range.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 49
Series
UPTEC W, ISSN 1401-5765 ; 17 038
Keywords [en]
Carbon dioxide, streams, agriculture, catchment, floating chamber, Kendall's Tau, CORINE Land Cover
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-355402OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-355402DiVA, id: diva2:1228808
Subject / course
Earth science
Educational program
Master Programme in Environmental and Water Engineering
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-29 Created: 2018-06-28 Last updated: 2018-06-29Bibliographically approved

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