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Eutrophication exacerbates the impact of climate warming on lake methane emission

Sepulveda-Jauregui, Armando, Hoyos-Santillan, Jorge, Martinez-Cruz, Karla, Walter Anthony, Katey M., Casper, Peter, Belmonte-Izquierdo, Yadira, Thalasso, Frédéric
The Science of the total environment 2018 v.636 pp. 411-419
eutrophication, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, lakes, methane, methane production, models, oxidation, sediments, water temperature
Net methane (CH4) emission from lakes depends on two antagonistic processes: CH4 production (methanogenesis) and CH4 oxidation (methanotrophy). It is unclear how climate warming will affect the balance between these processes, particularly among lakes of different trophic status. Here we show that methanogenesis is more sensitive to temperature than methanotrophy, and that eutrophication magnifies this temperature sensitivity. Using laboratory incubations of water and sediment from ten tropical, temperate and subarctic lakes with contrasting trophic states, ranging from oligotrophic to hypereutrophic, we explored the temperature sensitivity of methanogenesis and methanotrophy. We found that both processes presented a higher temperature sensitivity in tropical lakes, followed by temperate, and subarctic lakes; but more importantly, we found that eutrophication triggered a higher temperature sensitivity. A model fed by our empirical data revealed that increasing lake water temperature by 2 °C leads to a net increase in CH4 emissions by 101–183% in hypereutrophic lakes and 47–56% in oligotrophic lakes. We conclude that climate warming will tilt the CH4 balance towards higher lake emission and that this impact will be exacerbated by the eutrophication of the lakes.