Seasonal patterns in carbon dioxide in 15 mid-continent (USA) reservoirs

John R. Jones, Daniel V. Obrecht, Jennifer L. Graham, Michelle B. Balmer, Christopher T. Filstrup, John A. Downing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that lakes are important sites for atmospheric CO2 exchange and so play a substantial role in the global carbon budget. Previous research has 2 weaknesses: (1) most data have been collected only during the open-water or summer seasons, and (2) data are concentrated principally on natural lakes in northern latitudes. Here, we report on the full annual cycle of atmospheric CO2 exchanges of 15 oligotrophic to eutrophic reservoirs in the Glacial Till Plains of the United States. With one exception, these reservoirs showed an overall loss of CO2 during the year, with most values within the lower range reported for temperate lakes. There was a strong cross-system seasonal pattern: an average of 70% of total annual CO2 efflux occurred by the end of spring mixis; some 20% of annual flux was reabsorbed during summer stratification; and the remaining 50% of efflux was lost during autumnal mixing. Net annual flux was negatively correlated with depth and positively correlated with both water residence time and DOC, with the smallest annual CO2 efflux measured in shallow fertile impoundments. Strong correlations yield relationships allowing regional up-scaling of CO2 evasion. Understanding lacustrine CO2 uptake and evasion requires seasonal analyses across the full range of lake trophic states and morphometric attributes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalInland Waters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© International Society of Limnology 2016.


  • Atmospheric flux
  • Carbon cycling
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Reservoirs


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