Carbon export in boreal streams and catchment basins

Assessing carbon dioxide transport at the terrestrial-aquatic interface of the Krycklan catchment in north-west Sweden

Northern latitude catchment basins are known to be important net sinks of carbon that vary greatly in space and time with respect to their carbon uptake. Leith et al. (2015) used high-frequency continuous non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensor measurements to look at carbon dioxide transport at the terrestrial-aquatic interface of the Krycklan catchment in north-west Sweden.

Overall, they determined that riparian zones (mainly peat soils) were the dominant source of CO2 entering the stream, and had higher CO2 concentrations than the hillslope soils (podzol soils).

Concentrations overall were highly varied in time, especially in the hillslope areas, which was found to be dependent on water table level fluctuations. This was obvious during spring snowmelt events when CO2 concentrations increased.

Leith et al. (2015) highlight the importance of riparian water table dynamics on CO2 export in headwater catchment basins. This is interesting in light of climate change and greater variability in precipitation, which may potentially affect the water table dynamics of catchment systems like the Krycklan catchment, and thus have the potential to alter CO2 export to streams.

riparian-and-hillslope-time-series-of-catchment-basin

Leith et al. (2015), “Carbon dioxide transport across the hillslope-riparian-stream continuum in a boreal headwater catchment”

Full article on ResearchGate