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Large increase in dissolved inorganic carbon flux from the Mississippi River to Gulf of Mexico due to climatic and anthropogenic changes over the 21st century


Ren, Wei
Tian, Hanqin
Tao, Bo
Yang, Jia
Pan, Shufen
Cai, Wei-Jun
Lohrenz, Steven
He, Ruoying
Hopkinson, Charles


It is recognized that anthropogenic factors have had a major impact on carbon fluxes from land to the ocean during the past two centuries. However, little is known about how future changes in climate, atmospheric CO2, and land use may affect riverine carbon fluxes over the 21st century. Using a coupled hydrological-biogeochemical model, the Dynamic Land Ecosystem Model, this study examines potential changes in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) export from the Mississippi River basin to the Gulf of Mexico during 2010-2099 attributable to climate-related conditions (temperature and precipitation), atmospheric CO2, and land use change. Rates of annual DIC export are projected to increase by 65% under the high emission scenario (A2) and 35% under the low emission scenario (B1) between the 2000s and the 2090s. Climate-related changes along with rising atmospheric CO2 together would account for over 90% of the total increase in DIC export throughout the 21st century. The predicted increase in DIC export from the Mississippi River basin would alter chemistry of the coastal ocean unless appropriate climate mitigation actions are taken in the near future.