Thermal sensitivity of CO2 and CH4 emissions varies with streambed sediment properties

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Globally, rivers and streams are important sources of carbon dioxide and methane, with small rivers contributing disproportionately relative to their size. Previous research on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from surface water lacks mechanistic understanding of contributions from streambed sediments. We hypothesise that streambeds, as known biogeochemical hotspots, significantly contribute to the production of GHGs. With global climate change, there is a pressing need to understand how increasing streambed temperatures will affect current and future GHG production. Current global estimates assume linear relationships between temperature and GHG emissions from surface water. Here we show non-linearity and threshold responses of streambed GHG production to warming. We reveal that temperature sensitivity varies with substrate (of variable grain size), organic matter (OM) content and geological origin. Our results confirm that streambeds, with their non-linear response to projected warming, are integral to estimating freshwater ecosystem contributions to current and future global GHG emissions.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number2803
JournalNature Communications
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2018