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The Upper Mississippi River, engineered for river navigation in the 1930s, includes a series of low-head dams and navigation pools receiving elevated sediment and nutrient loads from the mostly agricultural basin. Using high-resolution, spatially resolved water quality sensor measurements along 1385 river kilometers, we show that primary productivity and organic matter accumulation affect river carbon dioxide and methane emissions to the atmosphere. Phytoplankton drive CO2to near or below atmospheric equilibrium during the growing season, while anaerobic carbon oxidation supports a large proportion of the CO2 and CH4 production. Reductions of suspended sediment load, absent of dramatic reductions in nutrients, will...
The U.S. Corn Belt is one of the most intensive agricultural regions of the world and is drained by the Upper Mississippi River (UMR), which forms one of the largest drainage basins in the U.S. While the effects of agricultural nitrate (NO3−) on water quality in the UMR have been well documented, its impact on the production of nitrous oxide (N2O) has not been reported. Using a novel equilibration technique, we present the largest data set of freshwater dissolved N2O concentrations (0.7 to 6 times saturation) and examine the controls on its variability over a 350 km reach of the UMR. Driven by a supersaturated water column, the UMR was an important atmospheric N2O source (+68 mg N2O N m−2 yr−1) that varies nonlinearly...