Organic carbon burial in global lakes and reservoirs

Nature Communications
By: , and 



Burial in sediments removes organic carbon (OC) from the short-term biosphere-atmosphere carbon (C) cycle, and therefore prevents greenhouse gas production in natural systems. Although OC burial in lakes and reservoirs is faster than in the ocean, the magnitude of inland water OC burial is not well constrained. Here we generate the first global-scale and regionally resolved estimate of modern OC burial in lakes and reservoirs, deriving from a comprehensive compilation of literature data. We coupled statistical models to inland water area inventories to estimate a yearly OC burial of 0.15 (range, 0.06–0.25) Pg C, of which ~40% is stored in reservoirs. Relatively higher OC burial rates are predicted for warm and dry regions. While we report lower burial than previously estimated, lake and reservoir OC burial corresponded to ~20% of their C emissions, making them an important C sink that is likely to increase with eutrophication and river damming.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Organic carbon burial in global lakes and reservoirs
Series title Nature Communications
DOI 10.1038/s41467-017-01789-6
Volume 8
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Nature
Contributing office(s) Colorado Water Science Center
Description Article 1694; 7 p.
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