From OSU Press Release http://today.oregonstate.edu/news/streams-may-emit-more-carbon-dioxide-warmer-climate:
"Streams and rivers could pump carbon dioxide into the air at increasing rates if they continue to warm, potentially compounding the effects of global warming, a new worldwide analysis has shown.
To reach that conclusion, an international research team conducted the first continental-scale study of carbon flows into and out of streams across six major climatic zones. They collected data in watersheds from Puerto Rico and Oregon to Australia and Alaska. In each one, scientists analyzed the balance between photosynthesis — which uses atmospheric CO2 to generate plant material such as roots and leaves — and respiration, which pumps CO2 back into the air.
“This paper is the first to look at the effects of climate change on stream metabolism at the continental scale using field observations,” said Alba Argerich, co-author who monitored McRae Creek and Lookout Creek in the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest. “This approach takes into consideration the complexity of an ecosystem, as opposed to controlled experiments where you recreate simplified versions of an ecosystem.”
Argerich and other scientists monitored streams for water temperature, dissolved oxygen and sunlight at the water surface. The researchers also simulated the balance between net primary production (the product of photosynthesis by all organisms in the stream) and respiration under a 1-degree Celsius rise in stream temperature. The net result of the simulations, they reported, was a 24 percent shift toward more respiration and CO2 emissions.
The shift toward more CO2 emissions appears to be more pronounced in warmer streams, the scientists found, while colder streams might actually see an increase in net primary production. Carbon cycling in streams can also be affected by other factors such as the plants and microbes in the stream ecosystem and nutrients flowing into the water from surrounding lands."
Article from Oregon Public Radio's EarthFix program:https://www.opb.org/news/article/climate-change-warm-streams-carbon-pollution/
See the full article in Nature Geoscience, "Continental-scale decrease in net primary productivity in streams due to climate warming"