Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Organic carbon suggests Swedish lakes were less acidified

Date:
August 1, 2011
Source:
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Summary:
New assessments of the role of dissolved organic carbon in Swedish lakes indicate that power plant emissions may have acidified the lakes less than was believed twenty years ago, when programs to counter the acidity by liming were instituted.

During the 1970s and 1980s, researchers and policymakers became increasingly worried about multiple consequences of acidic emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from the stacks of power stations, and eventually they were controlled. In Europe, there was much concern about the effects on Sweden's many lakes, which were found to be in some cases strikingly acidic. The Swedish government instituted a program of countering the acidification by adding thousands of tonnes of lime to the lakes.

Related Articles


The link between emissions and acidification of lakes was never universally accepted, however. A new study of the role of dissolved organic carbon, which comes from living organisms and can also make lakes acidic, suggests that power station emissions may have played less of a role than previously thought. Martin Erlandsson of the University of Reading, United Kingdom, and his colleagues wondered whether it was possible to distinguish the historical effects of organic acids and power station emissions by assessing findings during the 20 years since lake acidification started to decrease in Sweden. They describe their results in the August issue of BioScience.

Although there are few measurements of the amount of dissolved organic carbon in Swedish lakes before the 1980s, the amount of dissolved organic carbon in them has continued to increase despite the stabilization of power station emissions around 1990. The reason is unknown, but the increase supports the idea that as power station emissions increased during the 20th century they may have partly suppressed organic acidity in lakes that was present in pre-industrial times -- at higher levels than when it was assessed in 1990.

Erlandsson and colleagues estimated the pre-industrial acidity of 66 lakes under different assumptions about the amount of dissolved organic carbon in them, and found that the assumptions had a large effect on estimates of how much the lakes had been affected by power station emissions. Studies of sediments in some of the lakes seem to bear out the idea that preindustrial organic carbon levels were at least as high as they are today -- and considerably higher than they were in 1990. That in turn means the power station emissions did not contribute as much to lake acidification as was thought when liming programs were instigated.

Erlandsson and his coauthors say their work does not call into question the value of reducing power station emissions generally, since this has had many other benefits besides improving the condition of lakes. But they comment that their work does emphasize the importance of getting a better understanding of the amounts of dissolved organic carbon in lakes in pre-industrial times, because they have a large influence on the degree of acidification that can be blamed on power station emissions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Biological Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin Erlandsson, Neil Cory, Jens F๖lster, Stephan K๖hler, Hjalmar Laudon, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, and Kevin Bishop. Increasing Dissolved Organic Carbon Redefines the Extent of Surface Water Acidification and Helps Resolve a Classic Controversy. BioScience, August 2011

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Organic carbon suggests Swedish lakes were less acidified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801094718.htm>.
American Institute of Biological Sciences. (2011, August 1). Organic carbon suggests Swedish lakes were less acidified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801094718.htm
American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Organic carbon suggests Swedish lakes were less acidified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801094718.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
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