Do regional aerosols contribute to the riverine export of dissolved black carbon? (article)
de Rezende, CE
de Aragão, LEOC
Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
American Geophysical Union (AGU) / Wiley
© 2017 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The fate of black carbon (BC), a stable form of thermally altered organic carbon produced during biomass and fuel combustion, remains an area of uncertainty in the global carbon cycle. The transfer of photosynthetically derived BC into extremely long-term oceanic storage is of particular significance and rivers are the key linkage between terrestrial sources and oceanic stores. Significant fluvial fluxes of dissolved BC to oceans result from the slow release of BC from degrading charcoal stocks; however, these fluvial fluxes may also include undetermined contributions of aerosol BC, produced by biomass and fossil fuel combustion, which are deposited in river catchments following atmospheric transport. By investigation of the Paraíba do Sul River catchment in Southeast Brazil we show that aerosol deposits can be substantial contributors to fluvial fluxes of BC. We derived spatial distributions of BC stocks within the catchment associated with soil charcoal and with aerosol from both open biomass burning and fuel combustion. We then modeled the fluvial concentrations of dissolved BC (DBC) in scenarios with varying rates of export from each stock. We analyzed the ability of each scenario to reproduce the variability in DBC concentrations measured in four data sets of river water samples collected between 2010 and 2014 and found that the best performing scenarios included a 5–18% (135–486 Mg DBC year−1) aerosol contribution. Our results suggest that aerosol deposits of BC in river catchments have a shorter residence time in catchments than charcoal BC and, therefore, contribute disproportionately (with respect to stock magnitude) toward fluvial fluxes of BC.
This work was supported by the UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC grant NE/L002434/1) and the British Society for Geomorphology (BSG award to T. A. Q.). C. E. R. and J. S. J. M. received financial support from CNPq (506.750/2013-2), FAPERJ (26/010.001272/2016), and the Science Without Borders fund (CNPq CSF 400.963/2012-4).
This is the final version of the article. Available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Supporting data sets are available in ORE: http://hdl.handle.net/10871/29129
Published online 19 October 2017