Carbon burial in lakes and reservoirs of the conterminous United States

Friday, 19 December 2014
David W Clow1, Sarah M Stackpoole2, Kristine L Verdin1, David E Butman3, Zhiliang Zhu4 and Robert G Striegl5, (1)USGS Colorado Water Science Center Denver, Denver, CO, United States, (2)USGS-Branch of Reg Research, Denver, CO, United States, (3)University of Washington, School of Forestry & Environmental Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States, (4)USGS, Reston, VA, United States, (5)USGS, National Research Program, Boulder, CO, United States
Lakes and reservoirs are hot spots for carbon cycling, processing C at rates up to an order of magnitude greater than that of terrestrial ecosystems per unit area. Substantial amounts of carbon may be buried in water body sediments, but burial rates are poorly constrained, with recent estimates for global C burial ranging from 0.2 to 0.6 Pg C yr-1. These fluxes are seldom considered in global carbon cycle models. In this paper, we will present results of an analysis of C burial rates in water bodies of the conterminous U.S. (CONUS) that takes advantage of recently developed national-scale data sets on sedimentation rates and sediment C concentrations. We relate these data to basin characteristics and land use to develop an empirical model of C burial for water bodies in the CONUS. Results indicate these water bodies sequester large amounts of carbon, and spatial patterns in carbon burial are strongly influenced by water body type, size, and abundance, as well as soil and vegetation characteristics in surrounding areas.