10 Feb 2017
10 Feb 2017
Status: this discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). The manuscript was not accepted for further review after discussion.

Seasonal and inter-annual variations in carbon fluxes in a tropical river system (Tana River, Kenya)

Naomi Geeraert1, Fred O. Omengo1,2, Fredrick Tamooh1,3, Trent R. Marwick1, Alberto V. Borges4, Gerard Govers1, and Steven Bouillon1 Naomi Geeraert et al.
  • 1KU Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
  • 2Kenya Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 40241-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • 3Kenyatta University, Department of Zoological Sciences, P.O Box 16778-80100, Mombasa, Kenya
  • 4Université de Liège, Unité d‟Océanographie Chimique, Institut de Physique (B5), 4000 Liège, Belgium

Abstract. Quantification of sediment and carbon (C) fluxes in rivers with strong seasonal and inter-annual variability presents a challenge for global flux estimates as measurement periods are often too short to cover all hydrological conditions. We studied the dynamics of the Tana River (Kenya) from 2012 to 2014 through daily monitoring of sediment concentrations at three sites (Garissa, Tana River Primate Reserve and Garsen) and daily monitoring of C concentrations in Garissa and Garsen during three distinct seasons. In wet seasons, C fluxes were dominated by particulate organic C (POC) and decreased downstream. Dry season fluxes of dissolved inorganic C (DIC) and POC had a similar share in total C flux at both locations while POC fluxes increased downstream. The dissolved organic C (DOC) flux did not show strong spatial nor temporal variations. The construction of constituent rating curves with a bootstrap method in combination with daily discharge data (1942–2014) provided potential sediment and C flux ranges as a function of annual discharge. At low annual discharge, our estimates generally predict a net decrease of sediment and C storage between the upstream and downstream site. As the annual discharge increases, our simulations shift toward net retention. This analysis allowed us to infer how variations in discharge regime, related to climate or human impacts, may affect riverine fluxes. Overall, we estimate that retention was dominant: integration over all simulations resulted in an average net retention of sediment (~2.9 Mt yr−1), POC (~18000 tC yr−1), DOC (~920 tC yr−1) and DIC (~1200 tC yr−1) over the 73 years of discharge measurements.

Naomi Geeraert et al.

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Naomi Geeraert et al.

Naomi Geeraert et al.


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Short summary
We observed that the relationship between the concentrations and the water discharge in the Tana River changed in wet seasons with and without flooding. Detailed sampling in those seasons is required in order to construct several rating curves and to obtain reliable flux estimates. The sediment and carbon fluxes in function of discharge will help us to asses the flux changes that can be expected when the hydrology changes due to climate change or human impact.