UPPSALA, Sweden, July 23 (UPI) — Carbon dioxide locked in the world’s freshwater lakes could be released into the atmosphere as warmer climate conditions continue, scientists say.
Swedish researchers say organically bound carbon is held in temperature-sensitive sediments, sometimes for thousands of years, but warmer climate could result in much of it being released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a study published in the journal Nature reported.
Researchers at Uppsala University have found a strong connection between the carbon dioxide production in lake sediment and bottom-water temperature, the study says.
Lake sediment constitutes an important “carbon sink,” serving to store a significant portion of carbon-containing material like microscopic algae and plankton that settles to lake bottoms.
The study makes it increasingly clear that inland water systems play an important role in the global carbon cycle, researchers say, despite the fact that they only cover 3 percent of the land area of Earth.
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