On Factors Controlling Air-Water Gas Exchange in a Large Tidal River

David T. Ho, Peter Schlosser, Philip M. Orton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Air-water gas exchange is an important process in aquatic systems, including tidal rivers and estuaries. While there are now reliable and routine methods for determining gas exchange over a range of temporal and spatial scales in the ocean and these measurements have resulted in widely used wind speed parameterizations to calculate air-sea gas exchange, the same has not been true for coastal inland waterways. Some studies have suggested that this difference is methodological, while others point to the existence of additional drivers for gas exchange besides wind in rivers and estuaries. Here, we present gas transfer velocities measured in the tidal Hudson River with a method widely used in oceanic studies, the 3He/SF6 dual tracer technique. Airside and waterside forcings were determined with an anemometer and an acoustic Doppler current profiler, respectively. The results confirm that wind is the dominant driver of gas exchange in the tidal Hudson River, with negligible contribution from bottom-generated turbulence. Furthermore, a parameterization between wind speed and gas exchange developed for the ocean is able to predict gas exchange in this environment with high accuracy. It is hoped that by transferring methodology used in oceanic studies to rivers and estuaries, robust data can be obtained that will eventually allow development of widely applicable relationships between easily measured environmental variables and gas exchange in tidal inland waters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1116
Number of pages14
JournalEstuaries and Coasts
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Air-water gas exchange
  • He/SF
  • Hudson River

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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