Part III Workshop Research Presentations Section 3: Land and Water

Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 443-463

First online:

Riverine transport of atmospheric carbon: Sources, global typology and budget

  • Michel MeybeckAffiliated withLaboratoire de Géologie Appliquée, C.N.R.S.Place Jussieu

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Atmospheric C (TAC) is continuously transported by rivers at the continents’ surface as soil dissolved and particulate organic C (DOC, POC) and dissolved inorganic C (DIC) used in rock weathering reactions. Global typology of the C export rates (g.m−2.yr−1) for 14 river classes from tundra rivers to monsoon rivers is used to calculate global TAC flux to oceans estimated to 542 Tg.yr−1, of which 37 % is as DOC, 18 % as soil POC and 45 % as DIC. TAC originates mostly from humid tropics (46 %) and temperate forest and grassland (31 %), compared to boreal forest (14 %), savannah and sub-arid regions (5 %), and tundra (4 %). Rivers also carry to oceans 80 Tg. yr−1 of POC and 137 TG.yr−1 of DIC originating from rock erosion. Permanent TAC storage on land is estimated to 52 Tg.yr−1 in lakes and 17 Tg.yr−1 in internal regions of the continents.