Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Carbon dioxide dynamics in rivers and coastal waters of the “big island” of Hawaii, USA, during baseline and heavy rain conditions

  • François S. Paquay
  • Fred T. Mackenzie
  • Alberto V. Borges
Original Paper

Abstract

The distributions of the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and total alkalinity (TA) were examined for a 6-month period in the Wailuku and Wailoa rivers and coastal waters of Hilo Bay on the west coast of the Island of Hawaii, USA. Main results for the largest and turbulent Wailuku River show in the watershed an oversaturation in CO2 with respect to atmospheric equilibrium and a CO2 undersaturation in the estuary. In the Wailoa river-estuary system, extremely high pCO2 values ranging from 1500 to 10500 ppm were measured with significant shifts in pCO2 from drought to flood period. In the two rivers, water residence time, groundwater inputs and occasional flood events are the predominant drivers of the spatial and temporal patterns in the distribution of pCO2. In Hilo Bay, CO2 oversaturation dominates and the bay was a source of CO2 to the atmosphere during the study period. TA is conservative along the salinity gradient, indicating calcification in the bay is not a significant source of CO2 to the atmosphere.

Keywords

Carbon dioxide Total alkalinity Big Island of Hawaii Tropical aquatic systems Rivers Estuaries Coastal waters 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the Program in Marine Science at the University of Hawaii at Hilo for their support of FSP while he was student and for providing office space to FTM while he was a Visiting Professor there. We gratefully acknowledge the National Science Foundation (EAR02-23509), the Hawaii Sea Grant Program and B. L. Heintz, and V. J. Jacinto for their financial support for this research. AVB is a research associate at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique. This is SOEST contribution no. XXX. MARE contribution no. XXX.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • François S. Paquay
    • 1
  • Fred T. Mackenzie
    • 1
  • Alberto V. Borges
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Oceanography, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Chemical Oceanography Unit, Interfacultary Center for Marine ResearchUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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