A new study shows we are entering a vicious cycle of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. As humans burn more fossil fuels and release more greenhouse gases, global temperatures rise. As temperatures rise, more natural greenhouse gases, from sources such as lakes, also rise, adding to the accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. The study, from Linköping University in Sweden, concludes this cycle will make global temperatures rise more quickly that scientists have predicted.
“Everything indicates that global warming caused by humans leads to increased natural greenhouse gas emissions,” says Sivakiruthika Natchimuthu, lead author of the study. “Our detailed measurements reveal a clear pattern of greater methane emissions from lakes at higher temperatures.” During the past two years, Tema Environmental Change, the research group, has contributed to several studies that all come to the same disturbing conclusion: as temperatures rise, more natural greenhouse gases will be released.
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The team’s latest study focused on lakes, which are a major source of atmospheric methane. The researchers measured the methane emissions from three lakes, finding clear evidence that as temperatures increase methane emissions from lakes increase exponentially. A temperature bump of 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 F) caused emissions from the lakes to almost double.
There is a small silver lining on this bleak finding. According to David Bastviken, professor at Tema Environmental Change, reductions in anthropogenic emissions will reduce global temperatures, which will, in turn, reduce natural emissions as well.
Via Science Daily
Lake image via Freestyle nl/Wikimedia Commons, plant image via Analogue Kid/Wikimedia Commons