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Variations of carbon transport in the Yellow River, China


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The Yellow River is the second largest river in China. Carbon transport by the Yellow River has significant influence on riverine carbon cycles in Asia. In order to monitor seasonal and spatial variations of carbon concentrations and to estimate carbon exports, water and suspended solids were sampled every 10 days at three representative stations (Qingtongxia, Tongguan, and Luokou) along the mainstream of the Yellow River. Results showed that riverine carbon was mainly in dissolved form, except during flood period and water and sediment regulation (WSR) scheme, when particulate organic carbon (POC) dominated. Concentration of dissolved inorganic carbon was mostly 5 to 10 times higher than that of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). DOC was mainly related to a natural process (leaching effect) in the upstream and anthropogenic activities in the midstream (domestic sewage and fertilizer application) and downstream (industrial wastewater). POC was connected with high suspended solids. Annually carbon delivered to the Bohai Sea was 1.34 × 1012 g/yr, accounting for 0.15% of the global total riverine carbon flux. Mean DOC exported accounted for 0.12% of the Asian rivers' DOC flux. WSR played an important role in the carbon transport, which accounted for 1/5 to 1/3 of the corresponding annual fluxes.

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