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Greenhouse gas emissions from urban ponds are driven by nutrient status and hydrology

Peacock, Mike, Audet, Joachim, Jordan, Sabine, Smeds, Jacob, Wallin, Marcus B.
Ecosphere 2019 v.10 no.3 pp. e02643
calcium, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide enrichment, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, groundwater, hydrochemistry, lakes, methane, ponds, rivers, silicon, surface water, surveys, total organic carbon, total phosphorus
Inland waters emit significant quantities of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as methane (CH₄) and carbon dioxide (CO₂) to the atmosphere. On a global scale, these emissions are large enough that their contribution to climate change is now recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Much of the past focus on GHG emissions from inland waters has focused on lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, and the role of small, artificial waterbodies such as ponds has been overlooked. To investigate the spatial variation in GHG fluxes from artificial ponds, we conducted a synoptic survey of forty urban ponds in a Swedish city. We measured dissolved concentrations of CH₄ and CO₂, and made complementary measurements of water chemistry. We found that CH₄ concentrations were greatest in high‐nutrient ponds (measured as total phosphorus and total organic carbon). For CO₂, higher concentrations were associated with silicon and calcium, suggesting that groundwater inputs lead to elevated CO₂. When converted to diffusive GHG fluxes, mean emissions were 30.3 mg CH₄·m⁻²·d⁻¹ and 752 mg CO₂·m⁻²·d⁻¹. Although these fluxes are moderately high on an areal basis, upscaling them to all Swedish urban ponds gives an emission of 8336 t CO₂eq/yr (±1689) equivalent to 0.1% of Swedish agricultural GHG emissions. Artificial ponds could be important GHG sources in countries with larger proportions of urban land.