Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Mitigation Strategies Ignore Carbon Cycling Processes Of Inland Waters, Scientists Say

Date:
September 27, 2009
Source:
Stroud Water Research Center
Summary:
Scientists argue that current international strategies to mitigate manmade carbon emissions and address climate change have overlooked a critical player -- inland waters. Carbon burial and outgassing by streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and wetlands play important roles in the carbon cycle that are unaccounted for in conventional carbon cycling models.

In a paper titled "The Boundless Carbon Cycle," published in the September issue of Nature Geoscience, scientists from the University of Vienna, Uppsala University in Sweden, University of Antwerp, and the U.S. based Stroud™ Water Research Center argue that current international strategies to mitigate manmade carbon emissions and address climate change have overlooked a critical player - inland waters. Streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands play an important role in the carbon cycle that is unaccounted for in conventional carbon cycling models.

Related Articles


The commentary comes just months before COP15, the December 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen where representatives from 192 countries will gather to decide upon a 2012 climate agreement that will succeed the "Kyoto protocol."

Dr. Tom J. Battin of the department of Freshwater Ecology at the University of Vienna and lead author of the paper states that "While inland waters represent only 1% of the Earth's surface, their contribution to the carbon cycle is disproportionately large, underestimated, and not recognized within the models on which the Kyoto protocol was based."

The team of scientists points out that all current global carbon models consider inland waters static conduits that transfer carbon from the continents to the oceans. In reality, inland waters are dynamic ecosystems with the potential to alter the fates of terrestrial carbon delivered to them including: burial in sediments leading to long-term storage or sequestration; and metabolism in rivers and subsequent outgassing of respired carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

"Twenty percent of the continental carbon sequestration actually occurs as burial in inland water sediments," said Dr. Lars Tranvik, Professor of Limnology at Uppsala University in Sweden.

"River outgassing of respired carbon, contributes carbon to the atmosphere in an amount equivalent to 13% of annual fossil fuel burning," said Dr. Anthony K. Aufdenkampe, a scientist at the Stroud Water Research Center. Because the amount of atmospheric carbon is well known and conservation of matter requires a balanced global carbon budget, this previously unaccounted for source of carbon to the atmosphere implies the existence of an additional continental carbon sink such as higher rates of biomass accrual in forests. "A larger accumulation of carbon in forest ecosystems that could offset the outgassing from rivers would be more consistent with current independently-derived estimates of carbon sequestration on the continents," said Dr. Sebastian Luyssaert of the department of Biology at University of Antwerp in Belgium.

The authors feel that a Boundless Carbon Cycle – that accounts for carbon transfers between the land-freshwater boundary, the freshwater-atmosphere boundary, and regional boundaries within continents – presents opportunities and challenges for scientists and policy makers alike. They stress the need for collaborative scientific investigations augmented by new observatories and experimental platforms for long-term research to improve insights into carbon cycles across terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. For policy makers, the authors note that riverine transport presents a book keeping challenge as carbon in rivers that escapes burial or outgassing flows downstream, traversing geographic regions and political boundaries, and thus altering regionally based carbon accounts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stroud Water Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stroud Water Research Center. "Climate Change Mitigation Strategies Ignore Carbon Cycling Processes Of Inland Waters, Scientists Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901143313.htm>.
Stroud Water Research Center. (2009, September 27). Climate Change Mitigation Strategies Ignore Carbon Cycling Processes Of Inland Waters, Scientists Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901143313.htm
Stroud Water Research Center. "Climate Change Mitigation Strategies Ignore Carbon Cycling Processes Of Inland Waters, Scientists Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901143313.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins