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Geeraert, Naomi; Omengo, Fred O.; Tamooh, Fredrick; Marwick, Trent R.; Borges, Alberto V.; Govers, Gerard; Bouillon, Steven (2017)
Languages: English
Types: Article
Quantification of sediment and carbon (C) fluxes in rivers with strong seasonal and inter-annual variability presents a challenge for global flux estimates as measurement periods are often too short to cover all hydrological conditions. We studied the dynamics of the Tana River (Kenya) from 2012 to 2014 through daily monitoring of sediment concentrations at three sites (Garissa, Tana River Primate Reserve and Garsen) and daily monitoring of C concentrations in Garissa and Garsen during three distinct seasons. In wet seasons, C fluxes were dominated by particulate organic C (POC) and decreased downstream. Dry season fluxes of dissolved inorganic C (DIC) and POC had a similar share in total C flux at both locations while POC fluxes increased downstream. The dissolved organic C (DOC) flux did not show strong spatial nor temporal variations. The construction of constituent rating curves with a bootstrap method in combination with daily discharge data (1942–2014) provided potential sediment and C flux ranges as a function of annual discharge. At low annual discharge, our estimates generally predict a net decrease of sediment and C storage between the upstream and downstream site. As the annual discharge increases, our simulations shift toward net retention. This analysis allowed us to infer how variations in discharge regime, related to climate or human impacts, may affect riverine fluxes. Overall, we estimate that retention was dominant: integration over all simulations resulted in an average net retention of sediment (~2.9 Mt yr−1), POC (~18000 tC yr−1), DOC (~920 tC yr−1) and DIC (~1200 tC yr−1) over the 73 years of discharge measurements.
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