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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 23 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 23 Aug 2019

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Drivers of diffusive lake CH4 emissions on daily to multi-year time scales

Joachim Jansen1,2, Brett F. Thornton1,2, Alicia Cortes3, Jo Snöälv4, Martin Wik1,2, Sally MacIntyre3, and Patrick M. Crill1,2 Joachim Jansen et al.
  • 1Department of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Marine Science Institute, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, USA
  • 4Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

Abstract. Lakes and reservoirs are important emitters of climate forcing trace gases. Various environmental drivers of the flux, such as temperature and wind speed, have been identified, but their relative importance remains poorly understood. Here we use an extensive field dataset to disentangle physical and biogeochemical controls on the turbulence-driven diffusive flux of methane (CH4) on daily to multi-year timescales. We compare 8 years of floating chamber fluxes from three small, shallow subarctic lakes (2010–2017, n = 1306) with fluxes computed using 9 years of surface water concentration measurements (2009–2017, n = 606) and a small-eddy surface renewal model informed by in situ meteorological observations. Chamber fluxes averaged 6.9 ± 0.3 mg m−2 d−1 and gas transfer velocities (k600) from the chamber-calibrated surface renewal model averaged 4.0 ± 0.1 cm h−1. We find robust (R2 ≥ 0.93, p < 0.01) Arrhenius-type temperature functions of the CH4 flux (Ea' = 0.90 ± 0.14 eV) and of the surface CH4 concentration (Ea' = 0.88 ± 0.09 eV). Chamber derived gas transfer velocities tracked the power-law wind speed relation of the model (k ∝ u3/4). While the flux increased with wind speed, during storm events (U10 ≥ 6.5 m s−1) emissions were reduced by rapid water column degassing. Spectral analysis revealed that on timescales shorter than a month emissions were driven by wind shear, but on longer timescales variations in water temperature governed the flux, suggesting emissions were strongly coupled to production. Our findings suggest that accurate short- and long term projections of lake CH4 emissions can be based on distinct weather- and climate controlled drivers of the flux.

Joachim Jansen et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Joachim Jansen et al.

Joachim Jansen et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Lakes are important emitters of the greenhouse gas methane. We use field observations and a model to evaluate the importance of known drivers of methane production and release. Fast and slow changes of the diffusive flux were governed by wind speed and sediment temperature, respectively. Increased turbulence enhanced release, but storms depleted the lakes of gas and limited emissions. Our findings may inform model studies into the effects of weather and climate change on lake methane emissions.
Lakes are important emitters of the greenhouse gas methane. We use field observations and a...