Chapter 14, Key Finding 1

The total flux of carbon—which includes gaseous emissions, lateral flux, and burial—from inland waters across the conterminous United States (CONUS) and Alaska is 193 teragrams of carbon (Tg C) per year. The dominant pathway for carbon movement out of inland waters is the emission of carbon dioxide gas across water surfaces of streams, rivers, and lakes (110.1 Tg C per year), a flux not identified in the First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR1; CCSP 2007). Second to gaseous emissions are the lateral fluxes of carbon through rivers to coastal environments (59.8 Tg C per year). Total carbon burial in lakes and reservoirs represents the smallest flux for CONUS and Alaska (22.5 Tg C per year) (medium confidence).