The emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from inland waters are an important component of the global carbon (C) cycle. However, the current understanding of GHGs emissions from arid river systems remains largely unknown. To shed light on GHGs emissions from inland waters in arid regions, high-resolution carbon dioxide (CO2
) and methane (CH4
) emission measurements were carried out in the arid Kuye River Basin (KRB) on the Chinese Loess Plateau to examine their spatio-temporal variability. Our results show that all streams and rivers were net C sources, but some of the reservoirs in the KRB became carbon sinks at certain times. The CO2
) recorded in the rivers (91.0 mmol m−2
) was higher than that of the reservoirs (10.0 mmol m−2
), while CH4
) in rivers (0.35 mmol m−2
) was lower than that of the reservoirs (0.78 mmol m−2
). The best model developed from a number of environmental parameters was able to explain almost 40% of the variability in partial pressure of CO2
) for rivers and reservoirs, respectively. For CH4
emissions, at least 70% of the flux occurred in the form of ebullition. The emissions of CH4
in summer were more than threefold higher than in spring and autumn, with water temperature being the key environmental variable affecting emission rates. Since the construction of reservoirs can alter the morphology of existing fluvial systems and consequently the characteristics of CO2
emissions, we conclude that future sampling efforts conducted at the basin scale need to cover both rivers and reservoirs concurrently.
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