Dynamics of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon in the Waterways of Antropogenically Influenced Closed Semi-Arid Basins

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mohd Yusuf Jameel and Gabriel J Bowen, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Inland aquatic carbon cycling is an important component of global carbon cycle and recent work has shown that anthropogenic activities can significantly alter the flux of terrestrial carbon through these systems to oceans and lakes. The study of dissolved carbon species in rivers provides detailed information about the natural and anthropogenic processing of carbon within a watershed. We measured water chemistry and stable isotope ratios (δ13C, δ18O, δ2H) of three major rivers (Bear, Jordan and Weber) seasonally, within the Great Salt Lake Basin to understand sources and processes governing the carbon cycling within the basin. Our preliminary data suggest strong correlation between the DIC concentration and land use/land cover for all the three waterways, with DIC increasing as the rivers flow through agricultural and urban regions. We also observed significant decrease in the DIC with the addition of fresh water from the tributaries which was most significant during the spring sampling. All the three rivers are super saturated in dissolved CO2 with respected to the atmospheric CO2 concentration, with pCO2 ranging from 1-5 times the atmospheric value and also showing strong seasonal variations. Coupling the pCO2 data with the isotopic value and concentration of DIC suggests that the variations within and among the rivers are manifestation of the different sources of DIC, further altered by in-situ processes such as organic respiration and photosynthesis. Our result suggest that human induced changes in land use and land cover have significantly altered the carbon budget of waterways of the Great Salt Lake Basin and carbon flux to the Great Salt Lake itself. Our future work will further quantify these changes, increasing our understanding of past, present and future changes in carbon cycling in closed semi-arid basins, and its importance in the global carbon cycle.