Hypoxia in coastal waters and lakes is widely recognized as a detrimental environmental issue, yet we lack a comparable understanding of hypoxia in rivers. We investigated controls on hypoxia using 118 million paired observations of dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration and water temperature in over 125,000 locations in rivers from 93 countries. We found hypoxia (DO < 2 mg L−1) in 12.6% of all river sites across 53 countries, but no consistent trend in prevalence since 1950. High‐frequency data reveal a 3‐h median duration of hypoxic events which are most likely to initiate at night. River attributes were better predictors of riverine hypoxia occurrence than watershed land cover, topography, and climate characteristics. Hypoxia was more likely to occur in warmer, smaller, and lower‐gradient rivers, particularly those draining urban or wetland land cover. Our findings suggest that riverine hypoxia and the resulting impacts on ecosystems may be more pervasive than previously assumed.
Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher.
Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?
Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.
AbstractTo assess the distribution, frequency, and global extent of riverine hypoxia, we compiled 118 million paired dissolved oxygen (DO) and water temperature measurements from 125,158 unique locations in rivers in 93 countries and territories across the globe. The dataset also includes site characteristics derived from StreamCat, the National Hydrography and HydroAtlas datasets and proximal land cover derived from MODIS-based IGBP land cover types compiled using Google Earth Engine (GEE).
Recent advances in high‐frequency environmental sensing and statistical approaches have greatly expanded the breadth of knowledge regarding aquatic ecosystem metabolism—the measurement and interpretation of gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (ER). Aquatic scientists are poised to take advantage of widely available datasets and freely‐available modeling tools to apply functional information gained through ecosystem metabolism to help inform environmental management. Historically, several logistical and conceptual factors have limited the widespread application of metabolism in management settings. Benefitting from new instrumental and modeling tools, it is now relatively straightforward to extend routine monitoring of dissolved oxygen (DO) to dynamic measures of aquatic ecosystem function (GPP and ER) and key physical processes such as gas exchange with the atmosphere (G). We review the current approaches for using DO data in environmental management with a focus on the United States, but briefly describe management frameworks in Europe and Canada. We highlight new applications of diel DO data and metabolism in regulatory settings and explore how they can be applied to managing and monitoring ecosystems. We then review existing data types and provide a short guide for implementing field measurements and modeling of ecosystem metabolic processes using currently available tools. Finally, we discussmore »
This article is categorized under:
Water and Life > Nature of Freshwater Ecosystems
Water and Life > Conservation, Management, and Awareness