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Future directions for river carbon biogeochemistry observations

Rivers carry large quantities of carbon and form an important link between terrestrial, marine and atmospheric biogeochemical cycles, yet our observations of river carbon are severely limited. Here we provide a blueprint to build a global River Observation System that would improve our ability to observe and predict changes in this crucial piece of the global carbon cycle.

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Fig. 1: Conceptual figure of the three-layer approach to build a global River Observation System.


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This Comment would not have been possible without the substantial support and input from those who contributed to the first RIOS workshop held in Bristol in June 2023 and the research network (CONFLUENCE) that supported the workshop: G. Allen (Virginia Tech), D. Bastviken (Linköping University), P. Bates (University of Bristol), W. Buytaert (Imperial College London), G. Coxon (University of Bristol), S. Dasari (University of Oxford), N. Deluigi (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), C. Duvert (Charles Darwin University), C. Evans (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), V. Galy (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), A. Grinham (University of Queensland), P. Hanson (University of Wisconsin-Madison), R. Hilton (University of Oxford), P. Johnes (University of Bristol), H. Laudon (Swedish Agricultural University), C. Lloyd (University of Bristol), B. McDowell (University of New Hampshire), O. Meisel (University of Bristol), J. Neal (University of Bristol), R. Nobrega (University of Bristol), A. Pickard (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), P. Regnier (Université libre de Bruxelles), J. Schellekens (Planet labs PBC), L. Slater (University of Oxford), R. Spencer (Florida State University), S. Tank (University of Alberta), S. Vale (Landcare Research New Zealand), J. Vonk (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), M. Wallin (Swedish Agricultural University), and R. Woods (University of Bristol). This work, and the workshop it is based upon, was supported by a UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grant NE/V009001/1. J.F.D. received additional support from a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship MR/V025082/1.

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Correspondence to Joshua F. Dean.

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Dean, J.F., Battin, T.J. Future directions for river carbon biogeochemistry observations. Nat Water 2, 219–222 (2024).

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