Climate-dependent CO2 emissions from lakes

Sarian Kosten, Fábio Roland, David M.L. Da Motta Marques, Egbert H. Van Nes, Néstor Mazzeo, Leonel Da S.L. Sternberg, Marten Scheffer, Jon J. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


Inland waters, just as the world's oceans, play an important role in the global carbon cycle. While lakes and reservoirs typically emit CO2, they also bury carbon in their sediment. The net CO2 emission is largely the result of the decomposition or preservation of terrestrially supplied carbon. What regulates the balance between CO2 emission and carbon burial is not known, but climate change and temperature have been hypothesized to influence both processes. We analyzed patterns in carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) in 83 shallow lakes over a large climatic gradient in South America and found a strong, positive correlation with temperature. The higher pCO2 in warmer lakes may be caused by a higher, temperature-dependent mineralization of organic carbon. This pattern suggests that cool lakes may start to emit more CO2 when they warm up because of climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberGB2007
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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