Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Evaluations of Climate and Land Management Effects on Lake Carbon Cycling Need to Account Temporal Variability in CO2 Concentration

Klaus, Marcus; Seekell, David A.; Lidberg, William; Karlsson, Jan

Abstract

Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in lakes vary strongly over time. This variability is rarely captured by environmental monitoring but is crucial for accurately assessing the magnitude of lake CO2 emissions. However, it is unknown to what extent temporal variability needs to be captured to understand important drivers of lake carbon cycling such as climate and land management. We used environmental monitoring data of Swedish forest lakes collected in autumn (n = 439) and throughout the whole open water season (n = 22) from a wet and a dry year to assess temporal variability in effects of climate and forestry on CO2 concentrations across lakes. Effects differed depending on the season and year sampled. According to cross-lake comparisons based on autumn data, CO2 concentrations increased with annual mean air temperature (dry year) or catchment forest productivity (wet year) but were not related to colored dissolved organic matter concentrations. In contrast, open water-season averaged CO2 concentrations were similar across temperature and productivity gradients but increased with colored dissolved organic matter. These contradictions resulted from scale mismatches in input data, lead to weak explanatory power (R-2 = 9-32%), and were consistent across published data from 79 temperate, boreal, and arctic lakes. In a global survey of 144 published studies, we identified a trade-off between temporal and spatial coverage of CO2 sampling. This trade-off clearly determines which conclusions are drawn from landscape-scale CO(2 )assessments. Accurate evaluations of the effects of climate and land management require spatially and temporally representative data that can be provided by emerging sensor technologies and forms of collaborative sampling.Plain Language Summary Lakes interact with the atmosphere by exchanging greenhouse gases !in such as carbon dioxide that have implications for the global climate. In order to predict future carbon dioxide exchanges, the effects of climate and land management need to be determined. Here we show that the apparent effects of climate and forestry on carbon dioxide concentrations in temperate, boreal, and arctic lakes are inconsistent and depend on whether lakes are sampled during autumn or throughout the year and whether it was a wet or dry year. To accurately quantify effects, hundreds of lakes would need to be sampled at least six times per year. Published literature suggests that this is unrealistic. This implies a need for new automated measurement technologies and collaborative teamwork to provide representative data and allow accurate predictions of the effects of climate and land management.

Published in

Global Biogeochemical Cycles
2019, volume: 33, number: 3, pages: 243-265
Publisher: AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION

Authors' information

Klaus, Marcus
Umea University
Seekell, David A.
Umea University
Lidberg, William (Lidberg, William)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Karlsson, Jan
Umea University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

UKÄ Subject classification

Climate Research
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GB005979

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/99912