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Seminar Abstract

Jeff Richey - March 12, 2002


On the Role of River Systems in the Global Carbon Cycle (with a Twist)

The major biogeochemical role of river systems is typically considered to be the "carbon leakage"- primarily the fluvial export of total organic (TOC) and dissolved inorganic carbon C (DIC) to the ocean of ~0.4 Gt C y-1, respectively. While these fluxes are significant compared to the net oceanic uptake of anthropogenic CO2 of ~2 Gt C y-1 , they are small components of the global C cycle. Fluvial carbon exports are not limited, however, to discharge. Recent computations of the evasion of CO2 from surface waters to the atmosphere in the central Amazon basin may be of a sufficient magnitude to help explain the tropical anomaly in the current balance of the global carbon cycle.

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