skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Carbon dioxide (CO 2) concentrations and emission in the newly constructed Belo Monte hydropower complex in the Xingu River, Amazonia

Abstract

The Belo Monte hydropower complex located in the Xingu River is the largest run-of-the-river (ROR) hydroelectric system in the world and has one of the highest energy production capacities among dams. Its construction received significant media attention due to its potential social and environmental impacts. It is composed of two ROR reservoirs: the Xingu Reservoir (XR) in the Xingu's main branch and the Intermediate Reservoir (IR), an artificial reservoir fed by waters diverted from the Xingu River with longer water residence time compared to XR. We aimed to evaluate spatiotemporal variations in CO 2 partial pressure ( pCO 2) and CO 2 fluxes ( FCO 2) during the first 2 years after the Xingu River impoundment under the hypothesis that each reservoir has contrasting FCO 2 and pCO 2 as vegetation clearing reduces flooded area emissions. Time of the year had a significant influence on pCO 2 with the highest average values observed during the high-water season. Spatial heterogeneity throughout the entire study area was observed for pCO2 during both low- and high-water seasons. FCO 2, on the other hand, only showed significant spatial heterogeneity during the high-water period. FCO 2 (0.90±0.47 and 1.08±0.62 µmol m 2 d –1 formore » XR and IR, respectively) and pCO 2 (1647±698 and 1676±323 µatm for XR and IR, respectively) measured during the high-water season were on the same order of magnitude as previous observations in other Amazonian clearwater rivers unaffected by impoundment during the same season. In contrast, during the low-water season FCO 2 (0.69±0.28 and 7.32±4.07 µmol m 2 d –1 for XR and IR, respectively) and pCO 2 (839±646 and 1797±354 µatm for XR and IR, respectively) in IR were an order of magnitude higher than literature FCO 2 observations in clearwater rivers with naturally flowing waters. When CO 2 emissions are compared between reservoirs, IR emissions were 90 % higher than values from the XR during low-water season, reinforcing the clear influence of reservoir characteristics on CO 2 emissions. Based on our observations in the Belo Monte hydropower complex, CO 2 emissions from ROR reservoirs to the atmosphere are in the range of natural Amazonian rivers. However, the associated reservoir (IR) may exceed natural river emission rates due to the preimpounding vegetation influence. Since many reservoirs are still planned to be constructed in the Amazon and throughout the world, it is critical to evaluate the implications of reservoir traits on FCO 2 over their entire life cycle in order to improve estimates of CO 2 emissions per kilowatt for hydropower projects planned for tropical rivers.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [5];  [6];  [5]
  1. Univ. Federal do Para, Altamira (Brazil)
  2. Univ. de Sao Paulo, Piracicaba (Brazil); Umea Univ., Umea (Sweden); Linkoping Univ., Linkoping (Sweden)
  3. Univ. de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  4. Univ. Federal do Para, Altamira (Brazil); Univ. de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo (Brazil)
  5. Univ. Federal do Para, Altamira (Brazil); Univ. Federal do Para, Altamira (Brazil)
  6. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Sequim, WA (United States); Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1576777
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-140925
Journal ID: ISSN 1726-4189
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biogeosciences (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Biogeosciences (Online); Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 18; Journal ID: ISSN 1726-4189
Publisher:
European Geosciences Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Amazon; aquatic; Bel Monte; biogeochemistry; carbon cycling; carbon dioxide; decomposition; disturbance; ecosystem; emission; gradients; hydroelectric dam; outgassing; reservoirs; terrestial aquatic interface; tidal river; wetland; wetland inundation

Citation Formats

de Araújo, Kleiton R., Sawakuchi, Henrique O., Bertassoli Jr., Dailson J., Sawakuchi, André O., da Silva, Karina D., Vieira, Thiago B., Ward, Nicholas D., and Pereira, Tatiana S. Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and emission in the newly constructed Belo Monte hydropower complex in the Xingu River, Amazonia. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.5194/bg-16-3527-2019.
de Araújo, Kleiton R., Sawakuchi, Henrique O., Bertassoli Jr., Dailson J., Sawakuchi, André O., da Silva, Karina D., Vieira, Thiago B., Ward, Nicholas D., & Pereira, Tatiana S. Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and emission in the newly constructed Belo Monte hydropower complex in the Xingu River, Amazonia. United States. doi:10.5194/bg-16-3527-2019.
de Araújo, Kleiton R., Sawakuchi, Henrique O., Bertassoli Jr., Dailson J., Sawakuchi, André O., da Silva, Karina D., Vieira, Thiago B., Ward, Nicholas D., and Pereira, Tatiana S. Wed . "Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and emission in the newly constructed Belo Monte hydropower complex in the Xingu River, Amazonia". United States. doi:10.5194/bg-16-3527-2019. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1576777.
@article{osti_1576777,
title = {Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and emission in the newly constructed Belo Monte hydropower complex in the Xingu River, Amazonia},
author = {de Araújo, Kleiton R. and Sawakuchi, Henrique O. and Bertassoli Jr., Dailson J. and Sawakuchi, André O. and da Silva, Karina D. and Vieira, Thiago B. and Ward, Nicholas D. and Pereira, Tatiana S.},
abstractNote = {The Belo Monte hydropower complex located in the Xingu River is the largest run-of-the-river (ROR) hydroelectric system in the world and has one of the highest energy production capacities among dams. Its construction received significant media attention due to its potential social and environmental impacts. It is composed of two ROR reservoirs: the Xingu Reservoir (XR) in the Xingu's main branch and the Intermediate Reservoir (IR), an artificial reservoir fed by waters diverted from the Xingu River with longer water residence time compared to XR. We aimed to evaluate spatiotemporal variations in CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) and CO2 fluxes (FCO2) during the first 2 years after the Xingu River impoundment under the hypothesis that each reservoir has contrasting FCO2 and pCO2 as vegetation clearing reduces flooded area emissions. Time of the year had a significant influence on pCO2 with the highest average values observed during the high-water season. Spatial heterogeneity throughout the entire study area was observed for pCO2 during both low- and high-water seasons. FCO2, on the other hand, only showed significant spatial heterogeneity during the high-water period. FCO2 (0.90±0.47 and 1.08±0.62 µmol m2 d–1 for XR and IR, respectively) and pCO2 (1647±698 and 1676±323 µatm for XR and IR, respectively) measured during the high-water season were on the same order of magnitude as previous observations in other Amazonian clearwater rivers unaffected by impoundment during the same season. In contrast, during the low-water season FCO2 (0.69±0.28 and 7.32±4.07 µmol m2 d–1 for XR and IR, respectively) and pCO2 (839±646 and 1797±354 µatm for XR and IR, respectively) in IR were an order of magnitude higher than literature FCO2 observations in clearwater rivers with naturally flowing waters. When CO2 emissions are compared between reservoirs, IR emissions were 90 % higher than values from the XR during low-water season, reinforcing the clear influence of reservoir characteristics on CO2 emissions. Based on our observations in the Belo Monte hydropower complex, CO2 emissions from ROR reservoirs to the atmosphere are in the range of natural Amazonian rivers. However, the associated reservoir (IR) may exceed natural river emission rates due to the preimpounding vegetation influence. Since many reservoirs are still planned to be constructed in the Amazon and throughout the world, it is critical to evaluate the implications of reservoir traits on FCO2 over their entire life cycle in order to improve estimates of CO2 emissions per kilowatt for hydropower projects planned for tropical rivers.},
doi = {10.5194/bg-16-3527-2019},
journal = {Biogeosciences (Online)},
number = 18,
volume = 16,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance
journal, February 2001


Downstream emissions of CH 4 and CO 2 from hydroelectric reservoirs (Tucuruí, Samuel, and Curuá-Una) in the Amazon basin
journal, January 2016

  • Kemenes, Alexandre; Forsberg, Bruce R.; Melack, John M.
  • Inland Waters, Vol. 6, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1080/IW-6.3.980

Spatial variation of sediment mineralization supports differential CO2 emissions from a tropical hydroelectric reservoir
journal, January 2013

  • Cardoso, Simone J.; Vidal, Luciana O.; Mendonça, Raquel F.
  • Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol. 4
  • DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00101

Terrestrial carbon inputs to inland waters: A current synthesis of estimates and uncertainty: Terrestrial carbon inputs to inland waters
journal, November 2017

  • Drake, Travis W.; Raymond, Peter A.; Spencer, Robert G. M.
  • Limnology and Oceanography Letters, Vol. 3, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1002/lol2.10055

Recent variability of the global ocean carbon sink
journal, September 2014

  • Landschützer, P.; Gruber, N.; Bakker, D. C. E.
  • Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol. 28, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004853

Outgassing from Amazonian rivers and wetlands as a large tropical source of atmospheric CO2
journal, April 2002

  • Richey, Jeffrey E.; Melack, John M.; Aufdenkampe, Anthony K.
  • Nature, Vol. 416, Issue 6881
  • DOI: 10.1038/416617a

Seasonal and spatial variability of CO 2 emission from a large floodplain lake in the lower Amazon
journal, January 2011

  • Rudorff, Conrado M.; Melack, John M.; MacIntyre, Sally
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 116, Issue G4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2011JG001699

Degradation of terrestrially derived macromolecules in the Amazon River
journal, May 2013

  • Ward, Nicholas D.; Keil, Richard G.; Medeiros, Patricia M.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 6, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1817

The boundless carbon cycle
journal, September 2009

  • Battin, Tom J.; Luyssaert, Sebastiaan; Kaplan, Louis A.
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 2, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo618

Seasonal variation of CO 2 diffusion flux from a large subtropical reservoir in East China
journal, February 2015


Advances in Quantifying Air-Sea Gas Exchange and Environmental Forcing
journal, January 2009


High spatial resolution land use and land cover mapping of the Brazilian Legal Amazon in 2008 using Landsat-5/TM and MODIS data
journal, September 2016

  • Almeida, Cláudio Aparecido de; Coutinho, Alexandre Camargo; Esquerdo, Júlio César Dalla Mora
  • Acta Amazonica, Vol. 46, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1590/1809-4392201505504

Where Carbon Goes When Water Flows: Carbon Cycling across the Aquatic Continuum
journal, January 2017

  • Ward, Nicholas D.; Bianchi, Thomas S.; Medeiros, Patricia M.
  • Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 4
  • DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00007

Physical controls on carbon dioxide transfer velocity and flux in low-gradient river systems and implications for regional carbon budgets
journal, January 2011

  • Alin, Simone R.; Rasera, Maria de Fátima F. L.; Salimon, Cleber I.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 116, Issue G1
  • DOI: 10.1029/2010JG001398

Extreme Methane Emissions from a Swiss Hydropower Reservoir: Contribution from Bubbling Sediments
journal, April 2010

  • DelSontro, Tonya; McGinnis, Daniel F.; Sobek, Sebastian
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 44, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1021/es9031369

Carbon Dioxide Emission from European Estuaries
journal, October 1998


Gas Exchange in Rivers and Estuaries: Choosing a Gas Transfer Velocity
journal, April 2001

  • Raymond, Peter A.; Cole, Jonathan J.
  • Estuaries, Vol. 24, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2307/1352954

Methane and carbon dioxide emissions from tropical reservoirs: Significance of downstream rivers
journal, January 2006

  • Guérin, Frédéric; Abril, Gwenaël; Richard, Sandrine
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, Issue 21
  • DOI: 10.1029/2006GL027929

Methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions from two Amazonian Reservoirs during high water table
journal, February 2002


Carbon Dioxide Emissions along the Lower Amazon River
journal, March 2017

  • Sawakuchi, Henrique O.; Neu, Vania; Ward, Nicholas D.
  • Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 4
  • DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00076

Hydraulic and geomorphological effects of run-of-river dams
journal, July 2010

  • Csiki, Shane; Rhoads, Bruce L.
  • Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, Vol. 34, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1177/0309133310369435

Equilibrium solubilities of methane, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen in water and sea water
journal, October 1979

  • Wiesenburg, Denis A.; Guinasso, Norman L.
  • Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data, Vol. 24, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1021/je60083a006

Spatial and temporal variability of pCO2 and CO2 efflux in seven Amazonian Rivers
journal, October 2013

  • de Fátima F. L. Rasera, Maria; Krusche, Alex V.; Richey, Jeffrey E.
  • Biogeochemistry, Vol. 116, Issue 1-3
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10533-013-9854-0

Photochemical production of dissolved inorganic carbon from terrestrial organic matter: Significance to the oceanic organic carbon cycle
journal, February 1995

  • Miller, William L.; Zepp, Richard G.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 22, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1029/94GL03344

Global carbon dioxide emissions from inland waters
journal, November 2013

  • Raymond, Peter A.; Hartmann, Jens; Lauerwald, Ronny
  • Nature, Vol. 503, Issue 7476
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature12760

Variability of carbon dioxide flux from tropical (Cerrado) hydroelectric reservoirs
journal, March 2010


The Volta Grande do Xingu: reconstruction of past environments and forecasting of future scenarios of a unique Amazonian fluvial landscape
journal, January 2015

  • Sawakuchi, A. O.; Hartmann, G. A.; Sawakuchi, H. O.
  • Scientific Drilling, Vol. 20
  • DOI: 10.5194/sd-20-21-2015

Changes in water types under the regulated mode of water level in Three Gorges Reservoir, China
journal, November 2011


CO 2 emissions from a tropical hydroelectric reservoir (Balbina, Brazil)
journal, January 2011

  • Kemenes, Alexandre; Forsberg, Bruce R.; Melack, John M.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 116, Issue G3
  • DOI: 10.1029/2010JG001465

Influence of plankton metabolism and mixing depth on CO2 dynamics in an Amazon floodplain lake
journal, July 2018


Plumbing the Global Carbon Cycle: Integrating Inland Waters into the Terrestrial Carbon Budget
journal, February 2007


Evaluation of Primary Production in the Lower Amazon River Based on a Dissolved Oxygen Stable Isotopic Mass Balance
journal, February 2017

  • Gagne-Maynard, William C.; Ward, Nicholas D.; Keil, Richard G.
  • Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 4
  • DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00026

Anaerobic decomposition of tropical soils and plant material: Implication for the CO2 and CH4 budget of the Petit Saut Reservoir
journal, August 2008


The ecosystem size and shape dependence of gas transfer velocity versus wind speed relationships in lakes
journal, December 2013

  • Vachon, Dominic; Prairie, Yves T.
  • Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 70, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1139/cjfas-2013-0241

Carbon dioxide and methane emissions and the carbon budget of a 10-year old tropical reservoir (Petit Saut, French Guiana): CO
journal, October 2005

  • Abril, Gwenaël; Guérin, Frédéric; Richard, Sandrine
  • Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Vol. 19, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2005GB002457

Prevalence of Heterotrophy and Atmospheric CO2 Emissions from Aquatic Ecosystems
journal, October 2005


The diversity of hydropower projects
journal, November 2002


On the parameters influencing air-water gas exchange
journal, January 1987

  • Jähne, Bernd; Münnich, Karl Otto; Bösinger, Rainer
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 92, Issue C2
  • DOI: 10.1029/JC092iC02p01937

Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong
journal, January 2016


Estimating greenhouse gas emissions from future Amazonian hydroelectric reservoirs
journal, December 2015

  • de Faria, Felipe A. M.; Jaramillo, Paulina; Sawakuchi, Henrique O.
  • Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 10, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124019

Event controlled DOC export from forested watersheds
journal, March 2010


Dams in the Amazon: Belo Monte and Brazil’s Hydroelectric Development of the Xingu River Basin
journal, May 2006


Tropical rivers
journal, September 2005


Spatially Resolved Measurements of CO 2 and CH 4 Concentration and Gas-Exchange Velocity Highly Influence Carbon-Emission Estimates of Reservoirs
journal, January 2018

  • Paranaíba, José R.; Barros, Nathan; Mendonça, Raquel
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 52, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b05138

Relationship between wind speed and gas exchange over the ocean
journal, January 1992

  • Wanninkhof, Rik
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 97, Issue C5
  • DOI: 10.1029/92JC00188

Erratum: Biophysical controls on organic carbon fluxes in fluvial networks
journal, July 2009

  • Battin, Tom J.; Kaplan, Louis A.; Findlay, Stuart
  • Nature Geoscience, Vol. 2, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1038/ngeo602

Carbon dioxide emissions from the Three Gorges Reservoir, China
journal, March 2017


Spatial Heterogeneity of Surface CO2 Fluxes in a Newly Created Eastmain-1 Reservoir in Northern Quebec, Canada
journal, October 2010


A global inventory of lakes based on high-resolution satellite imagery
journal, September 2014

  • Verpoorter, Charles; Kutser, Tiit; Seekell, David A.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 41, Issue 18
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060641

The global abundance and size distribution of lakes, ponds, and impoundments
journal, September 2006


The reactivity of plant-derived organic matter and the potential importance of priming effects along the lower Amazon River: ORGANIC MATTER REACTIVITY IN THE AMAZON
journal, June 2016

  • Ward, Nicholas D.; Bianchi, Thomas S.; Sawakuchi, Henrique O.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 121, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016JG003342