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Negligible quantities of particulate low‐temperature pyrogenic carbon reach the Atlantic Ocean via the Amazon River
Häggi, C.; Hopmans, E.C.; Schefuß, E.; Sawakuchi, A.O.; Schreuder, L.T.; Bertassoli, D.J.; Chiessi, C.M.; Mulitza, S.; Sawakuchi, H.O.; Baker, P.A.; Schouten, S. (2021). Negligible quantities of particulate low‐temperature pyrogenic carbon reach the Atlantic Ocean via the Amazon River. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 35(9): e2021GB006990.

Bijhorende data:
In: Global Biogeochemical Cycles. American Geophysical Union: Washington, DC. ISSN 0886-6236; e-ISSN 1944-9224, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Auteurs  Top 
  • Häggi, C.
  • Hopmans, E.C., meer
  • Schefuß, E.
  • Sawakuchi, A.O.
  • Schreuder, L.T., meer
  • Bertassoli, D.J.
  • Chiessi, C.M.
  • Mulitza, S.
  • Sawakuchi, H.O.
  • Baker, P.A.
  • Schouten, S., meer


    Particulate pyrogenic carbon (PyC) transported by rivers and aerosols, and deposited in marine sediments, is an important part of the carbon cycle. The chemical composition of PyC is temperature dependent and levoglucosan is a source-specific burning marker used to trace low-temperature PyC. Levoglucosan associated to particulate material has been shown to be preserved during riverine transport and marine deposition in high- and mid-latitudes, but it is yet unknown if this is also the case for (sub)tropical areas, where 90% of global PyC is produced. Here we investigate transport and deposition of levoglucosan in suspended and riverbed sediments from the Amazon River system and adjacent marine deposition areas. We show that the Amazon River exports negligible amounts of levoglucosan and that concentrations in sediments from the main Amazon tributaries are not related to long-term mean catchment-wide fire activity. Levoglucosan concentrations in marine sediments offshore the Amazon Estuary are positively correlated to total organic content regardless of terrestrial or marine origin, supporting the notion that association of suspended or dissolved PyC to biogenic particles is critical in the preservation of PyC. We estimate that 0.5-10 urn:x-wiley:08866236:media:gbc21182:gbc21182-math-0001 106 g yr-1 of levoglucosan is exported by the Amazon River. This represents only 0.5-10 ppm of the total exported PyC and thereby an insignificant fraction, indicating that riverine derived levoglucosan and low-temperature PyC in the tropics are almost completely degraded before deposition. Hence, we suggest caution in using levoglucosan as tracer for past fire activity in tropical settings near rivers.

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