Dynamics of dissolved greenhouse gas response to seasonal water mixing in subtropical reservoirs

  • Zhenglun Yang
  • Changyuan TangEmail author
  • Xing LiEmail author
  • Han Zhang
  • Yangyang Cai


Although indispensable, significant uncertainty still exists in the underlying processes of the formation, dynamics, and emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), the critical elements needed for the accurate estimation of greenhouse gas fluxes in inland lakes and reservoirs. Seasonal changes in water thermal stratification and turbulence strongly influence the concentration and emission of dissolved GHGs in water columns. Here, we studied the stratification and overturn processes of water column in the subtropical Lianhe Reservoir during different seasons and determined the dynamics of dissolved CO2, CH4, and N2O in the reservoir. Observation of temperature and analysis of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) clearly suggested that stratification of water column occurred in summer, but not in winter. The results showed that while dissolved oxygen (DO) was high in the top 5-m layer (the upper epilimnion layer), it dropped considerably especially below 10 m, resulting in an increase in concentration of CO2 and CH4. The high concentrations of dissolved N2O and CH4 were related to the decomposition of organic matter in the hypolimnion layer under anaerobic conditions after stratification. In winter overturn period, vertical circulants of water not only homogenized the concentration of DO in the water column, but also potentially moved CO2, CH4, and N2O from the bottom to the surface of the reservoir. The estimated GHG flux from the reservoir was − 7.13 mmol m−2 day−1 in summer and 2.14 mmol m−2 day−1 in winter. There was the potential that CO2 fluxes from subtropical lakes and reservoirs are overestimated by traditional geochemical models.


Subtropical reservoir Greenhouse gas CFCs Thermal stratification Vertical water and material flow 



The authors would like to thank Yingjie Cao in the School of Environmental Science and Engineering of Sun Yat-sen University for his help in the field work. Zhenglun Yang also gained financial supported from the TAKASE Scholarship Foundation and International Kyowa Scholarship Foundation.

Funding information

This study was supported partly by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41877470) and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (No. 2017A030313229).


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of HorticultureChiba UniversityMatsudoJapan
  2. 2.School of Environmental Ecology and Biological EngineeringWuhan Institute of TechnologyWuhanChina
  3. 3.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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