Using CDOM optical properties for estimating DOC concentrations and pCO2 in the Lower Amazon River


Coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) is one of the major contributors to the absorption budget of most freshwaters and can be used as a proxy to assess non-optical carbon fractions such as dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2). Nevertheless, riverine studies that explore the former relationships are still relatively scarce, especially within tropical regions. Here we document the spatial-seasonal variability of CDOM, DOC and pCO2, and assess the potential of CDOM absorption coefficient (aCDOM(412)) for estimating DOC concentration and pCO2 along the Lower Amazon River. Our results revealed differences in the dissolved organic matter (DOM) quality between clearwater (CW) tributaries and the Amazon River mainstream. A linear relationship between DOC and CDOM was observed when tributaries and mainstream are evaluated separately (Amazon River: N = 42, R2 = 0.74, p<0.05; CW: N = 13, R2 = 0.57, p<0.05). However, this linear relationship was not observed during periods of higher rainfall and river discharge, requiring a specific model for these time periods to be developed (N = 25, R2 = 0.58, p<0.05). A strong linear positive relation was found between aCDOM(412) and pCO2(N = 69, R2 = 0.65, p<0.05) along the lower river. pCO2 was less affected by the optical difference between tributaries and mainstream waters or by the discharge conditions when compared to CDOM to DOC relationships. Including the river water temperature in the model improves our ability to estimate pCO2 (N = 69; R2 = 0.80, p<0.05). The ability to assess both DOC and pCO2 from CDOM optical properties opens further perspectives on the use of ocean colour remote sensing data for monitoring carbon dynamics in large running water systems worldwide.

Optics Express, 26 (14), A657