Rivers, Estuaries, & Deltas


Study Reveals How Rivers Regulate Global Carbon Cycle

Humans concerned about climate change are working to find ways of capturing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the Earth. But Nature has its own methods for the removal and long-term storage of carbon, including the world’s river systems, which transport decaying organic material and eroded rock from land to the ocean.

While river transport of carbon to the ocean is not on a scale that will bail humans out of our CO2 problem, we don’t actually know how much carbon the world’s rivers routinely flush into the ocean – an important piece of the global carbon cycle.

But in a study published May 14 in the journal Nature, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) calculated the first direct estimate of how much and in what form organic carbon is exported to the ocean by rivers. The estimate will help modelers predict how the carbon export from global rivers may shift as Earth’s climate changes.

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Of The River and Time

Of The River and Time

The Fraser River in western Canada is flowing with tiny time capsules. Inside them is a fascinating history of Earth’s…

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Fraser River: Running Free

WHOI researchers and students travel the length of the river, taking samples along the way. (Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)…

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River Quest

River Quest

Max Holmes and Bernhard Peucker-Ehrenbrink spend a lot of time upriver—one day bundled in a parka on the icy banks…

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Climate Change Led to Collapse of Ancient Indus Civilization, Study Finds

A new study combining the latest archaeological evidence with state-of-the-art geoscience technologies provides evidence that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the great Indus or Harappan Civilization almost 4000 years ago. The study also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology.

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At the River’s End

At the River's End

In science, some of the most confounding and interesting questions come from the borderlands, where one physical world collides with…

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The Once and Future Danube River Delta

The Once and Future Danube River Delta

?The Danube River Delta is like the Everglades,? said Liviu Giosan, who grew up near the Romanian wetlands. The triangle-shaped, sediment-rich region at the mouth of the Danube River is also rich with human history. A traditional maritime culture persists on the delta, and the United Nations has declared the region a World Heritage site. The Danube Delta is also a great place for a geologist to study how the coast stretches, contracts, and undulates with time?and human interference.

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The Great Flood of New York

The Great Flood of New York

An ice dam forming a large Ice Age lake collapsed 13,350 years ago, sending a flood down the Hudson River Valley and causing dramatic climate changes.

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