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Sustainable Water Resources Management

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 1765–1779 | Cite as

Exploring methods of measuring CO2 degassing in headwater streams

  • M. Rawitch
  • G. L. MacphersonEmail author
  • A. Brookfield
Original Article

Abstract

Carbon dioxide (CO2) degassed from ungauged, headwater streams has a significant role in carbon cycling and climate change, making the precise measurement of the degassing of critical importance. Although methods exist for quantifying degassing rates in large bodies of water (seawater, lakes), these methods are often considered invalid for measuring degassing rates in small, turbulent, groundwater fed headwater streams. This manuscript reviews the physics of gas transfer across the stream-atmosphere interface and provides an in-depth critical review of the available methods of measuring CO2 degassing. Further, it discusses applications for some of these methods in small headwater streams and other low-order streams that are dominated by discharged groundwater. Of the methods reviewed, almost all produce fairly low precision and do not compare well with other methods tested in the same location. We suggest much more work is needed to improve the precision and accuracy of field-measured gas transfer coefficients, both by applying multiple methods in the field and by controlled laboratory experiments.

Keywords

Carbon dioxide flux Carbon cycling Headwater streams Atmospheric exchange rate Gas transfer coefficient 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We extend our gratitude for assistance from Brock Norwood and Trevor Osorno. We thank Julie Tollefson and Lara Palmquist for their editorial contributions. Funding was provided by the University of Kansas (KU) Department of Geology, the Geology Associates Fund of the KU Endowment Association, the Geological Society of America, and the Konza NSF Long-Term Ecological Research program, grant DEB-1440484. We thank the reviewers who made many suggestions that greatly improved this manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ramboll EnvironOverland ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of Geography and Atmospheric ScienceUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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