Low CO2 evasion rate from the mangrove surrounding waters of Sundarban

Globally, water bodies adjacent to mangroves are considered sources of atmospheric CO2. We directly measured the partial pressure of CO2 in water, pCO2(water), and other related biogeochemical parameters with very high (1-min) temporal resolution at Dhanchi Island in India’s Sundarbans during the post-monsoon season. We used elemental, stable isotopic, and optical signatures to investigate the sources of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and organic matter (OM) in these waters. Diel mean pCO2(water) was marginally oversaturated in creeks (efflux, 69 ± 180 µmol m−2 h−1) and undersaturated along the island boundary and in the main river (influx, −17 ± 53 and −31 ± 73 µmol m−2 h−1, respectively) compared to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The possibility in earlier studies of over- or underestimating the CO2 flux because of an inability to capture tidal minima and maxima was minimized in the present study, which confirmed that the waters surrounding mangroves in this region can act as a sink or a very weak source of atmospheric CO2. δ13C values for DIC suggest a mixed DIC source, and a three-end-member stable isotope mixing model and optical signatures of OM suggest negligible riverine contribution of freshwater to OM. We conclude that the CO2 sink or weak source character was due to a reduced input of riverine freshwater [which usually has high pCO2(water)] and the predominance of pCO2-lean water from the coastal sea, which eventually increases the buffering capacity of the water as evidenced by the Revelle factor. Up-scaling the CO2 flux data for all seasons and the entire estuary, we propose that the CO2 evasion rate observed in this study is much lower than the recently estimated world average. Mangrove areas having such low emissions should be given due emphasis when up-scaling the global mangrove carbon budget from regional observations.

Akhand A., Chanda A., Watanabe K., Das S., Tokoro T., Chakraborty K., Hazra S. & Kuwae T., 2019. Low CO2 evasion rate from the mangrove surrounding waters of Sundarban. Biogeosciences Discussions. Article.

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