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Water 2016, 8(1), 15; doi:10.3390/w8010015

CO2 is Dominant Greenhouse Gas Emitted from Six Hydropower Reservoirs in Southeastern United States during Peak Summer Emissions

1
Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6351, USA
2
Xcel Engineering, Inc., 1066 Commerce Park Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37830-8026, USA
3
Science Education Programs, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117, USA
4
Department of Biological Sciences, Marshall University, 1 John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755-2510, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jay R. Lund
Received: 14 August 2015 / Revised: 30 November 2015 / Accepted: 30 December 2015 / Published: 6 January 2016
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Abstract

During August–September 2012, we sampled six hydropower reservoirs in southeastern United States for CO2 and CH4 emissions via three pathways: diffusive emissions from water surface; ebullition in the water column; and losses from dam tailwaters during power generation. Estimates of average areal emission rates of CO2 attributable to the six reservoirs (i.e., reservoir plus tailwater emissions) ranged from 994 to 2760 mg·m−2·day−1, which is low to moderate compared to CO2 emissions rates reported for tropical hydropower reservoirs and boreal ponds and lakes, and similar to rates reported for other temperate reservoirs. Similar average rates for CH4 were also relatively low, ranging from 6 to 187 mg·m−2·day−1. On a whole-reservoir basis, estimates of total emissions of CO2 ranged 10-fold, from 42,740 kg per day for Fontana to 501,151 kg per day for Guntersville, and total emissions of CH4 ranged over 30-fold, from 251 kg per day for Fontana to 9153 kg per day for Allatoona. Emissions through the tailwater pathway varied among reservoirs, comprising from 19% to 65% of total CO2 emissions and 0% to 84% of CH4 emissions, depending on the reservoir. Emission rates were significantly correlated with several reservoir morphological and water quality characteristics, including metrics related to vertical stratification (e.g., minimum water column temperature and maximum dissolved oxygen) and reservoir productivity (e.g., water transparency and chlorophyll a concentration). View Full-Text
Keywords: CH4; CO2; greenhouse gas emissions; hydropower; reservoir CH4; CO2; greenhouse gas emissions; hydropower; reservoir
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bevelhimer, M.S.; Stewart, A.J.; Fortner, A.M.; Phillips, J.R.; Mosher, J.J. CO2 is Dominant Greenhouse Gas Emitted from Six Hydropower Reservoirs in Southeastern United States during Peak Summer Emissions. Water 2016, 8, 15.

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