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A lake classification concept for a more accurate global estimate of the dissolved inorganic carbon export from terrestrial ecosystems to inland waters
- Engel, Fabian, Farrell, KaitlinJ., McCullough, IanM., Scordo, Facundo, Denfeld, BlaizeA., Dugan, HilaryA., de Eyto, Elvira, Hanson, PaulC., McClure, RyanP., Nõges, Peeter, Nõges, Tiina, Ryder, Elizabeth, Weathers, KathleenC., Weyhenmeyer, GesaA.
- Die Naturwissenschaften 2018 v.105 no.3-4 pp. 25
- carbon, carbon cycle, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide production, climate change, dissolved inorganic carbon, lakes, mineralization, models, primary productivity, terrestrial ecosystems
- The magnitude of lateral dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) export from terrestrial ecosystems to inland waters strongly influences the estimate of the global terrestrial carbon dioxide (CO₂) sink. At present, no reliable number of this export is available, and the few studies estimating the lateral DIC export assume that all lakes on Earth function similarly. However, lakes can function along a continuum from passive carbon transporters (passive open channels) to highly active carbon transformers with efficient in-lake CO₂ production and loss. We developed and applied a conceptual model to demonstrate how the assumed function of lakes in carbon cycling can affect calculations of the global lateral DIC export from terrestrial ecosystems to inland waters. Using global data on in-lake CO₂ production by mineralization as well as CO₂ loss by emission, primary production, and carbonate precipitation in lakes, we estimated that the global lateral DIC export can lie within the range of [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] Pg C yr⁻¹ depending on the assumed function of lakes. Thus, the considered lake function has a large effect on the calculated lateral DIC export from terrestrial ecosystems to inland waters. We conclude that more robust estimates of CO₂ sinks and sources will require the classification of lakes into their predominant function. This functional lake classification concept becomes particularly important for the estimation of future CO₂ sinks and sources, since in-lake carbon transformation is predicted to be altered with climate change.