Conjunctive use of in situ gas sampling and chromatography with geospa-tial analysis to estimate greenhouse gas emissions of a large Amazonian hydroelectric reservoir

I. L. De Sousa Brandao* (Corresponding Author), C.M. Mannaerts, I.W. de Sousa Brandao, J.C. Barbosa Queiroz, Augusto César Fonseca Saraiva, H.A. Dantas Filho

*Corresponding author for this work

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Hydroelectric power reservoirs are considered potential contributors to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere through the emittance of methane and carbon dioxide. We combined in situ sam-pling and gas chromatography with geostatistical and remote sensing approaches to estimate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a large hydropower reservoir. We used remote sensing data to estimate the water surface and geospatial interpolation to calculate total emissions as a function of reservoir surface area. The CH4 and CO2 gas concentrations were linearly correlated to sampling time, confirming the adequacy of the in situ sampling method to measure GHG diffusive fluxes from reservoir water surfaces. The combination of high purity (99.99%) ISO-norm gas standards with a gas chromatograph, enabled us to achieve low measurement detection limits of 0.16 and 0.60 µmolmol-1, respectively, for CH4 (using a flame ionization or FID detector) and CO2 (using a thermal conductivity or TCD detector). Our results show that CO2 emissions are significantly (an order of 5.102 - 103) higher than those of CH4 in both the spatial and temporal domain for this res-ervoir. The total diffusive GHG emissions over a year (June 2011 to May 2012) of the Tucuruí hy-dropower reservoir being in operation, in units of tons of carbon, added up to 6.82 x 10³ for CH4 and 1.19 x 106 for CO2. We show that in situ GHG sampling using small floating gas chambers and high precision gas chromatography can be combined with geospatial interpolation techniques and remote sensing data to obtain estimates of diffusive GHG emissions from large water bodies with fluctuating water surfaces such as hydropower reservoirs. We recommend that more measure-ments and observations on these emissions are pursued in order to support and better quantify the ongoing discussions on estimates and mitigation of GHG emissions from reservoirs in the Amazon region and elsewhere in the world.
Original languageEnglish
Article number650
Pages (from-to)394-407
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the total environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2019


  • Greenhouse gas fluxes, Tucuruí, Amazon, diffusive emissions, spatial interpolation

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