Soil C : N ratio as a predictor of annual riverine DOC flux at local and global scales


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is important in a wide variety of chemical, physical, and biological processes in surface waters. We examined the relationship between DOC flux and soil C:N ratio on a biome basis. DOC fluxes for 164 rivers were subdivided into 15 biome types including tropical rain forest, coniferous forests, peatland, deciduous forests, mixed forests, and grasslands. A database of soil C:N ratios was constructed and subdivided into biome types. At a global scale, mean soil C:N ratio of a biome accounts for 99.2% of the variance in annual riverine DOC flux among biomes, The relationship between soil C:N ratio and DOC flux at the biome scale was used to predict annual riverine DOC flux at the watershed scale for three test watersheds not included in the original model. Predicted flux of each watershed was within 4.5% of the actual DOC flux. Using the C:N model, we estimated the total export of carbon from land to the oceans to be 3.6 x 10(14) g yr(-1). This empirical model should be useful in predicting changes in DOC flux under changing climatic conditions.

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Global Biogeochemical Cycles


American Geophysical Union

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