Office of Research and Development Publications

Accounting for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Reservoirs


Beaulieu, J., B. Deemer, J. Harrison, C. Nietch, AND S. Waldo. Accounting for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Reservoirs. Presented at Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, California, December 12 - 16, 2016.


To inform the public


Nearly three decades of research has demonstrated that the impoundment of rivers and the flooding of terrestrial ecosystems behind dams can increase rates of greenhouse gas emission, particularly methane. The 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories includes a methodology for estimating methane emissions from flooded lands, but the methodology was published as an appendix to be used as a ‘basis for future methodological development’ due to a lack of data. Since the 2006 Guidelines were published there has been a 6-fold increase in the number of peer reviewed papers published on the topic including reports from reservoirs in India, China, Africa, and Russia. Furthermore, several countries, including Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland, have developed country specific methodologies for including flooded lands methane emissions in their National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. This presentation will include a review of the literature on flooded land methane emissions and approaches that have been used to upscale emissions for national inventories. We will also present ongoing research in the United States to develop a country specific methodology. In the U.S., research approaches include: 1) an effort to develop predictive relationships between methane emissions and reservoir characteristics that are available in national databases, such as reservoir size and drainage area, and 2) a national-scale probabilistic survey of reservoir methane emissions linked to the National Lakes Assessment.

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Record Details:

Product Published Date: 12/15/2016
Record Last Revised: 12/22/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 334170