Historical and future contributions of inland waters to the Congo basin carbon balance

Adam Hastie provides a brief summary of the paper him and his colleagues team are awaiting publication of.

Adam Hastie et al.- Currently under review in Earth System Dynamicshttps://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2020-3/

License- Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

As part of my PhD at the Université Libre de Bruxelles under Pierre Regnier, I used the ORCHILEAK land surface model to investigate the transfer of carbon (C) from land (vegetation and soils) to inland waters in the Congo basin. We show that around 4% of terrestrial net primary (NPP) productivity is transferred laterally to inland waters each year.  While the model does not yet explicitly include peatland processes, we find that the Cuvette Centrale wetland is a hotspot of C exchange between the terrestrial and aquatic environments (Fig. 1). Moreover, we show that transfer of C to inland waters, CO2 evasion from the water surface, and the export of C to the coast have all increased since 1861, and predict that these trends will continue throughout the 21st century under RCP 6.0, driven by rising atmospheric CO2 and climate change. Our findings call for long-term monitoring of the C fluxes and stocks of the Congo basin and the inclusion of tropical peatlands within land surface models.

Figure 1: Present day (1981-2010) spatial distribution of a) terrestrial net primary productivity (NPP), b) dissolved organic carbon leaching from soils into the aquatic system (DOCinp), c) CO2 leaching from soils into the aquatic system (CO2inp) and d) aquatic CO2 evasion (FCO2). Main rivers in blue. All at a resolution of 1°.

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