HYDROCARB investigates the carbon and greenhouse gas balance of tropical hydropower reservoirs. Financed through the European Research Council (2014-2019), it is a joint research project of Limnology program at Uppsala Univeristy (UU) and the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF, Brazil). Even though the financing period has ended, the team is still active and productive.
Reservoirs emit greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) to the atmosphere, and at the same time bury carbon in their sediments, just as natural lakes do. However, methane (CH4) emissions can be very high in some reservoirs, and also carbon burial in sediment can be much higher in reservoirs than in natural lakes.
HYDROCARB investigates tropical reservoirs, because hydropower construction is booming in tropical countries, and because some studies have claimed that particularly tropical reservoirs are strong CH4 sources. HYDROCARB creates new understanding of reservoir carbon cycling by studying
- CO2 and CH4 emission at high spatial resolution, and across temporal scales.
- Carbon burial in reservoir sediments
- The sources of organic matter that fuel CH4 production in sediments.
A plain language description of the project can be found here
The aim is to establish new carbon and greenhouse gas budgets of tropical reservoirs, and to make the new knowledge available to both scientists and stakeholders.