(MENAFN - Swissinfo) Scientists in Lausanne have found that streams and rivers – or 'running waters' – emit on average four times more carbon dioxide (CO2) at night than during the day. The results have implications for how the global carbon cycle is calculated.
This content was published on April 16, 2021 - 16:23 April 16, 2021 - 16:23 EPFL/ilj
The research, carried out by a team from the Stream and Biofilm and Ecosystem Research Laboratory (SBERExternal link ) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) - along with international colleagues - was published in the journal Nature GeoscienceExternal link on Friday.
That more CO2 was emitted at night 'indicates that calculations of how much CO2 is released by these waters to the atmosphere has been biased too low, leading to incorrect estimates of their contribution to the global carbon cycle', an EPFL statement saidExternal link .
Until now estimates of CO2 - the main greenhouse gas - from running waters have been based on people manually getting samples from the water.
And that's where the SBER scientists spotted the calculation bias. They found that 90% of existing measurements were made between 8am and 4pm. By comparing these measurements with data collected continuously by automated sensors, they observed that CO2 emissions actually reached their peak just 10% of the time during this daytime window.
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