Are Lakes responsible for Greenhouse Gas?

Several scientists have conducted a group study on lakes and rivers such as ones in Quebec, Canada and have discovered that significant amounts of carbon are being released into the atmosphere from them. Reason being that there is a tight coupling between the terrestrial and aquatic environment which forces aquatic bacteria to consume modern carbon instead of carbon that was existent there for quite some time. Meaning that there will be “lags” in the coupling between these carbon chunks and may account for other significant and ancient amounts of carbon that may be released into the atmosphere.  These emissions could be quite significant depending on how much has been held back under the modern layers of carbon. Some of these carbon layers are between 1000 and 3000 years old and although these findings are only regional it can be assumed that other lakes and rivers work in similar manners and may also be releasing only the “modern” layers of carbon into the atmosphere instead of the more archaic ones. It is unclear whether or not these sources of carbon are actually adding to the greenhouse effect or if they have already been taken into account.

Jonathan McElroy

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