Climate Change

Reservoir Emissions

Tucuruí Dam spillway, Tocantins River, Brazil
A growing number of scientific studies indicate that reservoirs, especially in the tropics, are a significant source of global greenhouse gas pollution. Brazilian researchers estimated in 2007 that methane from dams is responsible for around 4% of human-caused climate change. Where Do the Emissions Come From? Greenhouse gases, primarily methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), are emitted from all of the dozens of reservoirs where measurements have been made. Gases are emitted from the surface of the reservoir, at turbines and spillways, and for tens of kilometers downstream (see schematic). E


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