Climate Change Research Brings Another Culprit of Climate Change: Lakes

Climate change has become a popular topic of discussion in recent years. Endless research has been published discussing how long we have to fix the damage that has occurred to the Earth’s climate. There have been various climate strikes across the U.S. and climate summits across the world. A new research study was published by the University of Cambridge. The study found that lakes affect greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists predict that the effects of climate change could double from these emissions.

According to the Cambridge study, there is a diversity of organic molecules(molecules that contain carbon within) in lakes that are the culprits for greenhouse emissions from the lakes. The abundance of organic molecules means that there are more molecules that can be broken down by sunlight into methane and carbon dioxide. These greenhouse gases are then released into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases have detrimental effects on the Earth’s climate because they trap the heat from the sun in the atmosphere. This then warms the atmosphere and causes thousands of changes in the Earth’s systems. The study found that the vegetation surrounding lakes can affect the types of organic molecules found within them. When trees and other plants lose their leaves and they end up in the lake, their decomposition provides new organic molecules to be broken down and turned into greenhouse gases. Scientists are now looking at how to decrease the greenhouse emissions from lakes by changing the vegetation surrounding lakes. This would change the type of organic molecules found in the lakes.

Courtesy: Nathan Dumlao 

PNAS, the Journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, published a study where they estimated that the levels of greenhouse gases emitted by northern lakes will increase between 1.5 and 2.7 times. This is the result of increasing vegetation growth in the north. This increased growth is caused by increased temperatures occurring in the north at the result of climate change.  According to the study, understanding the number of greenhouse emissions coming from lakes is important because it affects the calculations made on the rate of climate change. More studies are being conducted on 150 European lakes to find further information on the number of emissions coming from lakes.

Courtesy: Joseph Kelly

With previous research revealing that we only have 12 years to fix climate change. Studies and discussions like this one have come to the forefront. Destruction to the Earth’s atmosphere has been occurring since the industrial revolution and has culminated into this stark increase of temperature in the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists like those in Cambridge are working to further understand how this climate change is occurring, the steps that can be taken to rectify it and how much time we have to do so. What scientists are saying citizens can do is become more informed on climate issues and act to try and rectify the issue. You can find more information on climate change here.


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