Importance of Oceanian small mountainous rivers (SMRs) in global land-to-ocean output of lignin and modern biospheric carbon

Hongyan Bao, Tsung Yu Lee, Chuan Huang, Xiaojuan Feng, Minhan Dai, Shuh Ji Kao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The land-to-ocean export of particulate organic carbon (POC) connects carbon flow from the atmosphere through land to the ocean, of which the contemporary fraction that reaches the deep sea for burial may effectively affect atmospheric CO 2 . In this regard, small mountainous rivers (SMRs) in Oceania, a global erosion hotspot driven by torrential typhoon rain and active earthquakes are potentially important. Here we measured typhoon lignin discharges for Taiwan SMRs. We found that the particulate lignin export in 96hours by a single SMR amounting to ∼20% of the annual export by Mississippi River. The yearly particulate lignin discharge from Taiwan Island (35,980km 2 ) is governed by the frequency and magnitude of typhoon; thus, the historical lignin export ranged widely from 1.5 to 99.7Gg yr -1 , which resulted in a 10-100 times higher areal yield relative to non-Oceanian rivers. The lignin-derived modern POC output from Oceania region is 37±21Tg C yr -1 , account for approximately 20% of the annual modern POC export from global rivers. Coupled with the hyperpycnal pathway, the forested watersheds of SMRs in Oceania may serve as a giant factory to rapidly produce and efficiently convey modern POC into deep sea for sequestration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16217
JournalScientific reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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