Carbon evasion from surface waters in Alaska

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 3:10 PM
David E Butman, University of Washington, School of Forestry & Environmental Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States, Sarah M Stackpoole, USGS, Baltimore, MD, United States, David W Clow, USGS Colorado Water Science Center Denver, Denver, CO, United States, Robert G Striegl, USGS WRD, Boulder, CO, United States and Kristine L Verdin, U.S. Geological Survey, Boulder, CO, United States
Gaseous evasion of carbon dioxide and methane from freshwater surfaces has been shown to be upwards of 50% of the total freshwater carbon flux. In many cases, surface efflux is the dominant removal pathway for carbon, however large-scale estimates remain poorly constrained. As part of the ongoing efforts to quantify the carbon sequestration potential of natural ecosystems in the US by the USGS LandCarbon Program, we present the results of a synthesis of available CO2 in streams and rivers, and CO2 and CH4 measurements in lakes across Alaska. For stream carbon, we performed modifications to a synthetic streamline dataset derived from the Elevation Derivatives for National Applications (EDNA) to reflect more recent and accurate climate. Stream and river surface areas only account for 0.54% of the total area of Alaska while preliminary data suggests lakes account for nearly 3.4%. Preliminary analysis suggests 24 Tg-C yr-1 is evaded from fluvial surfaces, with the highest fluxes located in the southeastern region of the state driven by longer periods above freezing, high annual precipitation, and steep topography. We are currently quantifying the uncertainties in these estimates as well as analyzing a new dataset on CO2 and CH4 concentrations in Alaskan lakes. We will present the first estimate for the total freshwater surface carbon flux for Alaska.