Science of the Total Environment vol:376 issue:1-3 pages:255-266
The partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) in surface water was surveyed monthly at 6 sampling sites along the entire length of the lower reaches of the Xijiang River, a subtropical monsoon river in China, and at the mouths of its major tributaries, over a whole hydrological year from April 2005 to March 2006, to reveal the seasonal and spatial dynamics of pCO2. Intensive sampling and measurements were also conducted at Wuzhou gauge station in June and July to investigate the impact of floodwater on pCO2 and to further explore the relationship between river discharge and pCO2. The pCO2 levels were well above atmospheric equilibrium (380 μatm) during the entire survey period with obvious seasonal and spatial variations, ranging from 600 μatm to 7200 μatm for the mainstream and from 700 to 11000 μatm for tributaries, respectively. The pattern of pCO2 seasonal variation across 6 sites was almost consistent with each other with little difference. The pCO2 levels in the dry season were relatively low, with relatively slight temporal and spatial fluctuations that were predominantly controlled by in situ biogenic activities. While the pCO2 in the wet season greatly varied with river discharge, both annual maximum and minimum pCO2 levels occurring in this period. The much higher pCO2 in the early wet season were mainly induced by increasing baseflow and interflow that flushed significant soil CO2 into the streams, whereas the lower pCO2 observed after floods from July to September, some even lower than pCO2 levels in the dry season, potentially resulted from in situ plankton blooms. The annual minima pCO2 levels occurring in this period were caused by the dilution effect of floodwater. There was no obvious downstream trend in pCO2 variation during the whole survey period, probably a consequence of disturbance from tributaries or spatially distinct channel characteristics and water environments. Based on measurements, we estimate that the water-to-air CO2 flux in the lower reaches of the Xijiang River is about 8.3–15.6 Mg C ha− 1y− 1. The role of the Xijiang River as a net source of atmospheric CO2 is undoubted.