Carbon dioxide and methane emissions and the carbon budget of a 10‐year old tropical reservoir (Petit Saut, French Guiana)
1] The emissions of carbon dioxide (CO 2) and methane (CH 4) from the Petit Saut hydroelectric reservoir (Sinnamary River, French Guiana) to the atmosphere were quantified for 10 years since impounding in 1994. Diffusive emissions from the reservoir surface were computed from direct flux measurements in 1994, 1995, and 2003 and from surface concentrations monitoring. Bubbling emissions, which occur only at water depths lower than 10 m, were interpolated from funnel measurements in 1994, 1997, and 2003. Degassing at the outlet of the dam downstream of the turbines was calculated from the difference in gas concentrations upstream and downstream of the dam and the turbined discharge. Diffusive emissions from the Sinnamary tidal river and estuary were quantified from direct flux measurements in 2003 and concentrations monitoring. Total carbon emissions were 0.37 ± 0.01 Mt yr À1 C (CO 2 emissions, 0.30 ± 0.02; CH 4 emissions, 0.07 ± 0.01) the first 3 years after impounding (1994–1996) and then decreased to 0.12 ± 0.01 Mt yr À1 C (CO 2 , 0.10 ± 0.01; CH 4 , 0.016 ± 0.006) since 2000. On average over the 10 years, 61% of the CO 2 emissions occurred by diffusion from the reservoir surface, 31% from the estuary, 7% by degassing at the outlet of the dam, and a negligible fraction by bubbling. CH 4 diffusion and bubbling from the reservoir surface were predominant (40% and 44%, respectively) only the first year after impounding. Since 1995, degassing at an aerating weir downstream of the turbines has become the major pathway for CH 4 emissions, reaching 70% of the total CH 4 flux. In 2003, river carbon inputs were balanced by carbon outputs to the ocean and were about 3 times lower than the atmospheric flux, which suggests that 10 years after impounding, the flooded terrestrial carbon is still the predominant contributor to the gaseous emissions. In 10 years, about 22% of the 10 Mt C flooded was lost to the atmosphere. Our results confirm the significance of greenhouse gas emissions from tropical reservoir but stress the importance of: (1) considering all the gas pathways upstream and downstream of the dams and (2) taking into account the reservoir age when upscaling emissions rates at the global scale. (2005), Carbon dioxide and methane emissions and the carbon budget of a 10-year old tropical reservoir (Petit Saut, French Guiana), Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 19, GB4007, doi:10.1029/2005GB002457.
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