Spatial and seasonal fluxes of the greenhouse gases N2O, CO2 and CH4 in a UK macrotidal estuary

J. F. Harley, L. Carvalho, B. Dudley, K. V. Heal, Bob Rees, U. Skiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The spatial and seasonal dynamics of surface water fluxes of the greenhouse gases (GHG) CO2, CH4, and N2O were quantified in the Tay estuary, Scotland, on seven sampling occasions every 3 months during 2009/2010. This estuary is a relatively pristine river-dominated macrotidal estuary system of a type that is sparsely represented in global GHG flux studies. Significant spatial and temporal variability in GHG fluxes were measured, with similar spatial dynamics to that of other European estuaries. Greatest temporal and spatial variability in gas saturations were found for CH4, which was higher in the summer, with peaks in saturation occurring in the freshwater upper estuary and sharply decreasing in the midestuary mixing zone. Concentrations of CO4 and N2O were also generally higher in the upper to middle estuary in summer, although seasonality was less pronounced. Estimated air-sea fluxes also displayed significant spatial and temporal variability. Total annual CO2 emissions were greatest in the middle estuary zone (13.8 x 10(6) kg C yr(-1)), and lowest in the upper estuary (1.52 x 10(6) kg C yr(-1)). Seasonally, the highest CO2 emissions integrated across the estuary were in spring and autumn, with the lowest in winter. Total annual CH4 emissions were also highest in the middle estuary (0.05 x 10(6) kg C yr(-1)) and lowest in the upper estuary (0.01 x 10(6) kg C yr(-1)), whereas total N2O emissions, whilst highest in the middle estuary (2344 kg N yr(-1)), were lowest in the outer estuary (-435 kg N yr(-1)). Emissions of CH4 and N2O were substantially higher in the summer than any other season and lowest emissions were found in winter. The estimated annual exchange of both CO2 and N2O is substantially lower than those reported in other European macrotidal estuaries. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-73
Number of pages12
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume153
Early online date15 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2015

Keywords

  • biogeochemistry
  • carbon dioxide
  • estuaries
  • nitrous oxide
  • methane
  • emissions
  • water quality
  • Tay estuary
  • 3 EUROPEAN ESTUARIES
  • SOUTHERN NORTH-SEA
  • NITROUS-OXIDE
  • CARBON-DIOXIDE
  • TURBIDITY MAXIMUM
  • TRANSFER VELOCITY
  • RIVER ESTUARY
  • TAY ESTUARY
  • METHANE
  • EMISSIONS

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