Worldwide retention of nutrient silicon by river damming: From sparse data set to global estimate
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Damming of rivers represents a major anthropogenic perturbation of the hydrological cycle, with the potential to profoundly modify the availability of nutrient silicon (Si) in streams, lakes, and coastal areas. A global assessment of the impact of dams on river Si fluxes, however, is limited by the sparse data set on Si budgets for reservoirs. To alleviate this limitation, we use existing data on dissolved Si (DSi) retention by dams to calibrate a mechanistic model for the biogeochemical cycling of DSi and reactive particulate Si (PSi) in reservoir systems. The model calibration yields a relationship between the annual in-reservoir siliceous primary productivity and the external DSi supply. With this relationship and an estimate of catchment Si loading, the model calculates the total reactive Si (RSi=DSi+PSi) retention for any given reservoir. A Monte Carlo analysis accounts for the effects of variations in reservoir characteristics and generates a global relationship that predicts the average reactive Si retention in reservoirs as a function of the water residence time. This relationship is applied to the Global Reservoirs and Dams database to estimate Si retention by damming worldwide. According to the results, dams retain 163 Gmol yr(-1) (9.8 Tg SiO2 yr(-1)) of DSi and 372 Gmol yr(-1) (22.3 Tg SiO2 yr(-1)) of RSi, or 5.3% of the global RSi loading to rivers.
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Taylor Maavara, Hans H. Dürr, Philippe Van Cappellen (2014). Worldwide retention of nutrient silicon by river damming: From sparse data set to global estimate. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/11957