25 Sep 2023
 | 25 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Diurnal versus spatial variability of greenhouse gas emissions from an anthropogenic modified German lowland river

Matthias Koschorreck, Norbert Kamjunke, Uta Koedel, Michael Rode, Claudia Schuetze, and Ingeborg Bussmann

Abstract. Greenhous gas (GHG) emissions from rivers are globally relevant, but quantification of these emissions comes with considerable uncertainty. Most of the existing studies were carried out at small streams and much less is known about GHG emissions from larger rivers. Here quantification of ecosystem scale emissions is challenged by both spatial and short-term temporal variability. We measured spatio-temporal variability of CO2 and CH4 emissions from a 1 km long reach of the German lowland river Elbe over three days in order to establish which factor is more relevant to be taken into consideration: small-scale spatial variability or short-term temporal variability of CO2 and CH4 emissions.

GHG emissions from the river reach studied were dominated by CO2 and 90 % of total emissions was from the water surface, while 10 % of emissions was from dry fallen sediment at the side of the river. Aquatic CO2 emissions were similar at different habitats, while aquatic CH4 emissions were higher at the side of the river. Artificial structures to imoprove navigability (groynes) created still water areas with elevated CH4 emissions and lower CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions exhibited a clear diurnal pattern, but the exact shape and timing of this pattern differed between habitats. In contrast, CH4 emissions did not change diurnally. Our data confirm our hypothesis that spatial variability is important for CH4 while diurnal variability is more relevant for CO2 emissions. Continuous measurements are most likely necessary for reliable quantification of river GHG emissions.

Matthias Koschorreck et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2023-176', Anonymous Referee #1, 06 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2023-176', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Oct 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC2', Matthias Koschorreck, 06 Nov 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on bg-2023-176', Anonymous Referee #3, 30 Oct 2023

Matthias Koschorreck et al.

Matthias Koschorreck et al.


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Short summary
We measured the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) from different sites at the German River Elbe over 3 days to find out what is more important for quantification: small scale spatial variability or diurnal temporal variability. We found that CO2 emissions were very different between day and night while CH4 emissions were more different between sites. Dried out river sediments contributed to CO2 emissions while the side areas of the river were important CH4 sources.