Climate-dependent CO2 emissions from lakes

S. Kosten, F. Roland, D.M.L. Da Motta Marques, E.H. van Nes, N. Mazzeo, L.S.L. Sternberg, M. Scheffer, J.J. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


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 cha
Original languageEnglish
Article numberGB2007
JournalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • aquatic ecosystems
  • carbon-dioxide
  • metabolic balance
  • atmospheric co2
  • surface waters
  • shallow lakes
  • boreal lakes
  • respiration
  • heterotrophy
  • terrestrial


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