TitleProduction and Release of N2O from the Potomac Estuary
AuthorsMcElroy M. B., Elkins J. W., Wofsy S. C., Kolb C. E., Duran A. P., Kaplan W. A.
PublicationLimnol. Oceanogr.. 1978 Jan; 23(6):1168-1182.
AbstractMeasurements of dissolved O2, N2O, NH4+, NO2-, and NO3- are used to study the biogeochemistry of nitrogen in the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. The nutrient budget of the Potomac is dominated by sewage inputs from treatment plants at Blue Plains and Alexandria. Measurements taken in July and September 1977 indicate large supersaturated concentrations of N2O and exhibit significant short-period variations over distances >40 km. Concentrations of N2O and O2 appear to be inversely correlated and there are indications that N2O may be produced primarily near the sediment-water interface. Nitrous oxide is released to the air on a time scale of about 1 day and gas exchange may occur mainly in shallow embaymcnts in response to turbulence associated with tidal currents. Release of N2O to the atmosphere takes place at a rate of about 103 kg* d-1 and may be attributed to prompt conversion to N2Oof between 1 and 5% of the total nitrogen input.