Riverine N2O concentrations, exports to estuary and emissions to atmosphere from the Changjiang River in response to increasing nitrogen loads



[1] This study investigated the variations of dissolved N2O and emissions over diurnal and seasonal temporal scales in 2009, as well as the time series of riverine N2O export to estuary and emission to atmosphere in response to increasing anthropogenic nitrogen loads in the Changjiang River. For the diurnal study, N2O concentrations ranged from 0.26 to 0.34 and from 0.44 to 0.52 μg N–N2O L−1 in August and October 2009, respectively. The dissolved N2O was supersaturated with a mean value of 197%. Studies on N2O emissions, also taken in August and October, ranged from 2.67 to 11.6 and from 6.72 to 15.2 μg N–N2O m−2 h−1, respectively. For the seasonal study (June through December 2009), N2O concentrations ranged from 0.34 to 0.72 μg N–N2O L−1 and were supersaturated in all the samples (average 212%). N2O emissions ranged from 1.87 to 40.8 μg N–N2O m−2 h−1. Our study found no significant differences in diurnal patterns of N2O saturation but detected significant difference in seasonal patterns of N2O saturation: higher during summer while lower during autumn and winter. We found a significant relationship between dissolved N2O and river nitrate, which can predict the variation of N2O concentrations in the River. The net production of N2 ranged from 0.01 to 0.47 mg N–N2 L−1. These excess N2 values were significantly correlated to the N2O production and are suggestive of denitrification in the river. Applying the Global News model to the river system using measures taken during the 1970 to 2002 period, we estimated N2O emissions to atmosphere increased from 330 to 3650 ton N–N2O yr−1. During that same 1970–2002 period, N2O exports to estuary increased from 91 to 470 ton N–N2O yr−1. Taken together, the findings reported here suggest that both the river N2O concentrations and emissions would increase in response to rising anthropogenic nitrogen loads. Our study showed that the mean emission factor based on the ratio of the total N2O flux to NO3 flux is four times greater than the value of 0.0025 obtained with the methodology recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Thus, our findings reflect the open river channel rapid exchange of gases with the atmosphere.