Cross-continental importance of CH4 emissions from dry inland-waters

José R. Paranaíba, Ralf Aben, Nathan Barros, Gabrielle Quadra, Annika Linkhorst, André M. Amado, Soren Brothers, Núria Catalán, Jason Condon, Colin M. Finlayson, Hans-Peter Grossart, Julia Howitt, Ernandes S. Oliveira Junior, Philipp S. Keller, Matthias Koschorreck, Alo Laas, Catherine Leigh, Rafael Marcé, Raquel Mendonça, Claumir C. MunizBiel Obrador, Gabriela Onandia, Diego Raymundo, Florian Reverey, Fábio Roland, Eva Ingrid Rõõm, Sebastian Sobek, Daniel von Schiller, Haijun Wang, Sarian Kosten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Despite substantial advances in quantifying greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from dry inland waters, existing estimates mainly consist of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, methane (CH4) may also be relevant due to its higher Global Warming Potential (GWP). We report CH4 emissions from dry inland water sediments to i) provide a cross-continental estimate of such emissions for different types of aquatic systems (i.e., lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and streams) and climate zones (i.e., tropical, continental, and temperate); and ii) determine the environmental factors that control these emissions. CH4 emissions from dry inland waters were consistently higher than emissions observed in adjacent uphill soils, across climate zones and in all aquatic systems except for streams. However, the CH4 contribution (normalized to CO2 equivalents; CO2-eq) to the total GHG emissions of dry inland waters was similar for all types of aquatic systems and varied from 10 to 21%. Although we discuss multiple controlling factors, dry inland water CH4 emissions were most strongly related to sediment organic matter content and moisture. Summing CO2 and CH4 emissions revealed a cross-continental average emission of 9.6 ± 17.4 g CO2-eq m−2 d−1 from dry inland waters. We argue that increasing droughts likely expand the worldwide surface area of atmosphere-exposed aquatic sediments, thereby increasing global dry inland water CH4 emissions. Hence, CH4 cannot be ignored if we want to fully understand the carbon (C) cycle of dry sediments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number151925
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date26 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2022


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