Carbon Emissions From Freshwater 25 Percent Of Those From Burning Fossil Fuels

By on November 12, 2015

A new study shows that lakes in the northern hemisphere could release more carbon dioxide due to climate change. (Credit: Gesa Weyhenmeyer)


Researchers at Uppsala Universitet in Sweden have found that northern lakes all over the globe will be releasing much more carbon dioxide in the future as the climate continues to warm, according to a release from the university. Many lakes, reservoirs and water courses naturally spew out large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, approximately 25 percent the amount emitted currently via the burning of fossil fuels.

The release of carbon dioxide by freshwater bodies is a consequence of microbial growth in many cases, but it can also be a result of freshwater systems taking in carbon dioxide from their surroundings, which is later released in lakes or reservoirs.

The study of 5,000 Swedish lakes suggests that the majority of carbon dioxide released from freshwater bodies is from carbon absorbed from their surroundings, not from lake microbial activity, as previous studies have indicated. The findings are especially significant because of the large number of northern lakes that will be exposed to higher temperatures in the future.

Top image: A new study shows that lakes in the northern hemisphere could release more carbon dioxide due to climate change. (Credit: Gesa Weyhenmeyer)

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