Methane release below a tropical hydroelectric dam
Tropical reservoirs upstream from hydroelectric dams are known to release significant amounts of methane to the atmosphere. Here we demonstrate that methane emissions downstream from hydroelectric dams can also be large. Emissions of CH4 downstream of Balbina reservoir in the central Amazon basin (Brazil) were calculated from regular measurements of degassing in the outflow of the turbines and downstream diffusive losses. Annual emissions from the reservoir surface and downstream from the dam were 34 and 39 Gg C, respectively. The downstream emission alone represented the equivalent of 3% of all methane released from central Amazon floodplain.