Estimating lake-atmosphere CO2 exchange

Limnology and Oceanography
By: , and 



Lake‐atmosphere CO2 flux was directly measured above a small, woodland lake using the eddy covariance technique and compared with fluxes deduced from changes in measured lake‐water CO2 storage and with flux predictions from boundary‐layer and surface‐renewal models. Over a 3‐yr period, lake‐atmosphere exchanges of CO2 were measured over 5 weeks in spring, summer, and fall. Observed springtime CO2 efflux was large (2.3–2.7 umol m‐2 s‐1) immediately after lake‐thaw. That efflux decreased exponentially with time to less than 0.2 umol m‐2 s−1 within 2 weeks. Substantial interannual variability was found in the magnitudes of springtime efflux, surface water CO2 concentrations, lake CO2 storage, and meteorological conditions. Summertime measurements show a weak diurnal trend with a small average downward flux (−0.17 μmol m‐2 s1) to the lake's surface, while late fall flux was trendless and smaller (−0.0021 μmol m‐2 s−1). Large springtime efflux afforded an opportunity to make direct measurement of lake‐atmosphere fluxes well above the detection limits of eddy covariance instruments, facilitating the testing of different gas flux methodologies and air‐water gas‐transfer models. Although there was an overall agreement in fluxes determined by eddy covariance and those calculated from lake‐water storage change in CO2, agreement was inconsistent between eddy covariance flux measurements and fluxes predicted by boundary‐layer and surface‐renewal models. Comparison of measured and modeled transfer velocities for CO2, along with measured and modeled cumulative CO2 flux, indicates that in most instances the surface‐renewal model underpredicts actual flux. Greater underestimates were found with comparisons involving homogeneous boundary‐layer models. No physical mechanism responsible for the inconsistencies was identified by analyzing coincidentally measured environmental variables.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Estimating lake-atmosphere CO2 exchange
Series title Limnology and Oceanography
DOI 10.4319/lo.1999.44.4.0988
Volume 44
Issue 4
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 14 p.
First page 988
Last page 1001