Short and warm winters increase methane emissions from northern lakes

Short and warm winters lead to an increase in methane emissions from northern lakes. This conclusion was made by scientists from Purdue University and the University of Eastern Finland, a study of which was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Lakes make up about 10% of the boreal landscape and are responsible for approximately 30% of the biogenic methane emissions worldwide. This greenhouse gas has a much greater impact on climate change than carbon dioxide.

Attempts to estimate methane emissions from boreal lakes have so far been associated with great uncertainty in the face of increasing temperatures – an estimate given by scientists, a few years later became irrelevant due to climate change.

In a new study, scientists estimate that by the end of the century, methane emissions from boreal lakes in Finland will increase by 26-59%. The work showed that although warming of water and bottom sediments plays an important role, increasing the length of the ice-free period is a key factor in increasing future methane emissions.

“Boreal lakes remain a significant source of methane in the face of global warming during this century, and the increase in methane emissions depends on latitude. Our study showed that the strongest increase in emissions will occur in northern lakes located at low latitudes”.

Narasinha Shurpali, lead author of the study

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