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Responses of carbonate system and CO2 flux to extended drought and intense flooding in a semiarid subtropical estuary
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    Limnology and Oceanography, 62, S112-S130.
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  • Description:
    Globally, estuaries are considered important CO2 sources to the atmosphere. However, estuarine water carbonate chemistry and CO2 flux studies have focused on temperate and high latitude regions, leaving a significant data gap in subtropical estuaries. In this study, we examined water column carbonate system and air-water CO2 flux in the Mission-Aransas Estuary, a subtropical semiarid estuary in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, by collecting samples at five System Wide Monitoring Program stations from 05/2014 to 04/2015. The carbonate system parameters (total alkalinity [TA], dissolved inorganic carbon [DIC], pH, CO2 partial pressure [pCO(2)], and carbonate saturation state with respect to aragonite [(Ar)]) and air-water CO2 flux all displayed substantial seasonal and spatial variations. Based on freshwater inflow conditions, a drought period occurred between 05/2014 and 02/2015, while a flooding period occurred from 03/2015 to 04/2015. Average DIC was 2194.7 +/- 156.8 mol kg(-1) and 2132.5 +/- 256.8 mol kg(-1), TA was 2497.6 +/- 172.1 molkg(-1) and 2333.4 +/- 283.1 mol kg(-1), pCO(2) was 477 +/- 94 atm and 529 +/- 251 atm, and CO2 flux was 28.3 +/- 18.0 mmol Cm(-2)d(-1) and 51.6 +/- 83.9 mmolCm(-2)d(-1) in the drought and flooding period, respectively. Integrated annual air-water CO2 flux during our studied period was estimated to be 12.4 +/- 3.3 molCm(-2)yr(-1), indicating that this estuary was a net CO2 source. High wind speed, warm climate, riverine input, and estuarine biogeochemical processes all contributed to the high CO2 efflux despite the modest pCO(2) levels year round.

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