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Lakes emit greenhouse gases: Swedish scientist

Lakes emit greenhouse gases: Swedish scientist

Published: 07 Jan 2011 11:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Jan 2011 11:03 GMT+01:00

Greenhouse gas emissions from inland waters are greater than previously thought, a Swedish-led study has found.

As a result, nature's ability to absorb human emissions may be overstated, according to a study published in the journal Science.

"In the debate, one often hears that the natural sinks can offset human fossil fuel emissions. Our results show that one cannot rely on it fully," said Professor David Bastviken of Linköping University, who led the study.

Inland waters, including lakes, reservoirs, streams and rivers, are often substantial methane sources in the terrestrial landscape. However, they are not yet well integrated in global greenhouse gas budgets, wrote Bastviken.

Data from 474 freshwater ecosystems and the most recent global water area estimates indicate that methane emissions from freshwaters correspond to 25 percent of all carbon dioxide, the study found.

Forests act as sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide emitted into the air and improving the greenhouse balance. The study concluded that freshwaters must be recognised as an important part of the global carbon cycle.

Bastviken worked with a team that included members from Uppsala University, Stockholm University and institutions in the US and Brazil. They measured how much methane gas was emitted from lakes, ponds and streams.

The researchers found that nature not only binds greenhouse gases, it also emits gases in the form of bubbles with methane from the water. As such, the measurements show that nature cannot absorb the same amount of gases that were previously estimated.

According to Bastviken, the volume of emissions is probably even greater than the estimates the researchers collected because methane bubbles are difficult to capture.

"Water environments are no environmental threat. We just have not taken account of them before. The conclusion is that the sinks we still have are very important," he explained.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:33 January 7, 2011 by tadchem
All life emits 'greenhouse gases.' CO2 is a necessary nutrient for plants, and methane is a natural product of plant decomposition. The characterization of biomass as 'sinks' for GHGs is misleading. All biomass is mortal, and the death of any plant or anima necessarily leads to the recycling of CO2 and methane via the atmosphere. Efforts to permanently trap these carbon compounds underground can only lead to the carbon starvation of all life on earth.

The physics of GHGs used by the IPCC is flawed. these substances are not heat sources. The sunlight trapped by GHGs heats the air directly, while the sunlight which is not trapped by them heats the ground below, which in turn heats the air INdirectly. Either way, it's the sun that heats the air.
16:43 January 7, 2011 by Swedesmith
When I eat cabbage, I emit greenhouse gasses, too.
17:10 January 7, 2011 by MarshaLynn
Wow, the foolishness just keeps going and going and going. No proof whatsoever that man is harming the environment to the extent that we should all be worried about impending doom. No proof at all that it is not just a natural cycle of the earth and sun. Yet people buy into this garbage wholesale -- mostly progressives and socialists, of course. What is it with the progressive mentality that believes this stuff? Our EPA in America is declaring CO2 a pollutant. How ridiculous can anything be? It's absurd. Yes, let's clean up the atmosphere. No one likes that ugly brown haze over cities. Let's not litter. Let's recycle. A little common sense goes a long way. But there is nothing sensible about this loony the-sky-is-falling-and-we're-all-going-to-die mentality. If you believe in it, check your facts; and check your scientists, because there has been outright fraud in this issue.
18:58 January 7, 2011 by coot
Nobody has ever claimed that these substances are heat sources. When the sunlight falls on the ground, it heats the ground. The ground then radiates in the infrared at a wavelength where the greenhouse gases are not as transparent.

That is:

- in visible light, air is very transparent

- in infrared, it is less transparaent

- with a higher concentration of greenhouse gases, it is even less transparent in the infrared.

That is why it is called the "greenhouse effect". When you are in a greenhouse, the light comes in through the windows but the heat does not escape.
19:59 January 7, 2011 by anticommie
Sweden should drain all its inland lakes to save the globe.
21:19 January 7, 2011 by Da Goat
methane emissions from freshwaters correspond to 25 percent of all carbon dioxide, the study found. LOL

I just love that statement classic!

Truth is nature is the biggest polluter when it comes to greenhouse gases

it is both the biggest sink and biggest source, the thought that us puny humans have a stake or impact is simply ludicrous!

the whole climate change thing is somewhere between a beat-up and a hoax, don't be sucked in!

there may be too many of us, but we are still small fish in a big pond, the sky and the sea are rather big places (and we live in neither, barely visit them)
21:50 January 7, 2011 by xmfclick
Typical bl**dy warmist-alarmist the-sky-is-falling b*ll*cks. Read the headline: "Lakes are emitting more greenhouse gases than we thought they were". Immediate reaction: "Great, this is good news -- if lakes are emitting more than we thought, then other things must be emitting less". Or, at the very least, any man-made emissions are *even less than* the tiny amount that we thought they were. But oh no, the warmist-alarmist "climate scientists" find a way to spin it so that it's bad news. We're all dooooooooooomed unless we give them more money to do more research, and stick a windmill in everybody's back garden. Pass the sick-bag!
01:21 January 8, 2011 by anticommie
Humans contribute 4% of green house gases. Globull whinners are farking morons that should be ignored or beaten for being the tards they are.
03:47 January 8, 2011 by BigBilly
@ anticommie ditto
04:12 January 8, 2011 by beefinswede
it seems flat earth science denying cretins read the local as well, how depressing
04:25 January 8, 2011 by Wireless.Phil
Note the date (1974) on this two page article from TIME.

Another Ice Age?

Monday, Jun. 24, 1974

"~when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. " The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

05:31 January 8, 2011 by anticommie
Maybe you should do a little research on the use of flat earthers, its as false as globull warming. But left wingers love to use fear and hate to push their agendas.
06:31 January 8, 2011 by Token Gimp
I live in Minnesota, I guess all those gases are what keep it so warm here in the winter.

Gee, with all that ice covering the water and containing all the gas, the lake water must really heat up too which explains why it melts by spring.
17:10 January 8, 2011 by johnny1939
The sky is falling, the sky is falling.........
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