Year-Round Carbon Fluxes in a Subarctic Landscape Show the Importance of Lake Emissions According to Season
Abstract:Lakes are increasingly recognized as important components of the global terrestrial carbon budget. Northern lakes are especially of interest due to a high density of open-water ecosystems in Northern latitudes and a potential increase in lake areal extent where permafrost is thawing. A better understanding of lake-atmosphere interactions requires long-term and direct measurement of surface fluxes. This is rarely achieved in Northern landscapes where seasonally ice-covered lakes are mostly studied during the open water season, and measurement methods do not always allow an integration of all gas transport pathways to the atmosphere.
We present here ecosystem-scale data from Stordalen (68°20’N, 19°03’E), a thawing permafrost peatland in subarctic Sweden, where an eddy covariance system is used in an innovative way to quantify the importance of methane (CH4) emissions from a shallow lake. After more than a year of surface flux monitoring, it is found that spring is a crucial season for lake-atmosphere CH4 exchange. Despite its shallow depth, more than half of annual CH4 emissions from the lake were recorded at ice-out, suggesting significant winter CH4 production in lake sediments. Lake water dynamics seemed to drive the observed spring release rates. In contrast, summer methane emissions in Stordalen were dominated by the minerotrophic fens. This underlines the importance of considering the full annual budget when assessing the carbon source strength of seasonally ice-covered lakes. Carbon dioxide fluxes were also monitored and will be briefly discussed, as well as the significance of northern lakes spring burst for global atmospheric CH4 budget.