Understanding the carbon transport within aquatic environments is crucial to quantifying global and local carbon budgets, yet limited empirical data currently (2021) exist. This report documents methodology and provides data for quantifying the aquatic export of carbon from a cypress swamp within Big Cypress National Preserve and is part of a larger carbon budget study. The U.S. Geological Survey operated two continuous monitoring stations, 022889001 and 022909471, that measured flow volume and water quality within the Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida from September 2015 to October 2017. Station 022889001 represented the flow into the study area and station 022909471 represented the flow out of the study area. Site-specific regression models were developed by using continuously measured specific conductance and concomitant, discretely collected dissolved organic carbon, dissolved inorganic carbon, and particulate carbon samples to calculate total carbon (TC) concentrations at 15-minute intervals.
Calculated TC concentrations typically increased as flow was decreasing and decreased as flow was increasing. TC loads were calculated by multiplying concentrations and flow volume, and the difference between the load calculations for input/output locations of the swamp flow system was used to determine the aquatic carbon export from the study area.
Calculated monthly TC loads ranged from 0 metric tons in spring 2017 at both stations to 3,145 and 7,821 metric tons in September 2017 at 022889001 and 022909471, respectively. During 2016, the annual loads were 10,479 and 15,243 metric tons at 022889001 and 022909471, respectively. Calculated monthly aquatic TC exports from the study area ranged from −0.7 gram of carbon per square meter in May 2016 to 44.1 grams of carbon per square meter during September 2017. The carbon export from the study area varied monthly, increased as flow increased, and was greatly influenced by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The aquatic TC export from the Sweetwater Strand study area was 42.0 grams of carbon per square meter per year in 2016, which is substantially (about 15 times) larger than the estimated overall mean riverine carbon export per square meter for the eastern United States; however, it was also less than the monthly export of carbon in September 2017. The monthly aquatic carbon export from the study area in September 2017 alone was greater than the aquatic carbon export from all of 2016, which is largely the result of the substantial increase in flow attributed to Hurricane Irma.
|Title||Development and application of surrogate models, calculated loads, and aquatic export of carbon based on specific conductance, Big Cypress National Preserve, south Florida, 2015–17|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center|