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GRiMeDB: The Global River Database Methane Database of concentrations and fluxes

July 11, 2023

Despite their small spatial extent, fluvial ecosystems play a significant role in processing and transporting carbon in aquatic networks, which results in substantial emission of methane (CH4) into the atmosphere. For this reason, considerable effort has been put into identifying patterns and drivers of CH4 concentrations in streams and rivers and estimating fluxes to the atmosphere across broad spatial scales. However, progress toward these ends has been slow because of pronounced spatial and temporal variability of lotic CH4 concentrations and fluxes and by limited data availability across diverse habitats and physicochemical conditions. To address these challenges, we present a comprehensive database of CH4 concentrations and fluxes for fluvial ecosystems along with broadly relevant and concurrent physical and chemical data. The Global River Methane Database (GriMeDB;, Stanley et al., 2023) includes 24 024 records of CH4 concentration and 8205 flux measurements from 5029 unique sites derived from publications, reports, data repositories, unpublished data sets, and other outlets that became available between 1973 and 2021. Flux observations are reported as diffusive, ebullitive, and total CH4 fluxes, and GriMeDB also includes 17 655 and 8409 concurrent measurements of concentrations and 4444 and 1521 fluxes for carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O), respectively. Most observations are date-specific (i.e., not site averages), and many are supported by data for 1 or more of 12 physicochemical variables and 6 site variables. Site variables include codes to characterize marginal channel types (e.g., springs, ditches) and/or the presence of human disturbance (e.g., point source inputs, upstream dams). Overall, observations in GRiMeDB encompass the broad range of the climatic, biological, and physical conditions that occur among world river basins, although some geographic gaps remain (arid regions, tropical regions, high-latitude and high-altitude systems). The global median CH4 concentration (0.20 µmol L−1) and diffusive flux (0.44 mmol m-2 d-1) in GRiMeDB are lower than estimates from prior site-averaged compilations, although ranges (0 to 456 µmol L−1 and −136 to 4057 mmol m-2 d-1) and standard deviations (10.69 and 86.4) are greater for this larger and more temporally resolved database. Available flux data are dominated by diffusive measurements despite the recognized importance of ebullitive and plant-mediated CH4 fluxes. Nonetheless, GriMeDB provides a comprehensive and cohesive resource for examining relationships between CH4 and environmental drivers, estimating the contribution of fluvial ecosystems to CH4 emissions, and contextualizing site-based investigations.

Publication Year 2023
Title GRiMeDB: The Global River Database Methane Database of concentrations and fluxes
DOI 10.5194/essd-15-2879-2023
Authors Emily H. Stanley, Luke C. Loken, Nora J. Casson, Samantha K. Oliver, Ryan A. Sponseller, Marcus B. Wallin, Liwei Zhang, Gerard Rocher-Ros
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth System Science Data
Index ID 70248421
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wisconsin Water Science Center; Upper Midwest Water Science Center