Exploring methods of measuring CO2 degassing in headwater streams

TitleExploring methods of measuring CO2 degassing in headwater streams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsRawitch, MJ, Macpherson, GL, Brookfield, AE
JournalSustainable Water Resources Management
Accession NumberKNZ001923

Carbon dioxide (CO2) degassed from ungauged, headwater streams has a significant role in carbon cycling and climate change, making the precise measurement of the degassing of critical importance. Although methods exist for quantifying degassing rates in large bodies of water (seawater, lakes), these methods are often considered invalid for measuring degassing rates in small, turbulent, groundwater fed headwater streams. This manuscript reviews the physics of gas transfer across the stream-atmosphere interface and provides an in-depth critical review of the available methods of measuring CO2 degassing. Further, it discusses applications for some of these methods in small headwater streams and other low-order streams that are dominated by discharged groundwater. Of the methods reviewed, almost all produce fairly low precision and do not compare well with other methods tested in the same location. We suggest much more work is needed to improve the precision and accuracy of field-measured gas transfer coefficients, both by applying multiple methods in the field and by controlled laboratory experiments.