A new study from the University of Exeter and Queen Mary University in London blames ponds for contributing to climate change. They suggest that the rising temperatures that play such an important role in climate change are caused by the reduction of carbon dioxide absorption of ponds and the increase of methane emission.
The researchers conducted their study of ponds for a period of seven years. They warmed them by 4 or 5 degrees Celsius to see how this temperature increase impacts greenhouse gas emissions and metabolism rates.
After the first year, they discovered how the changes amplified and they continued this process. After seven year, the pond’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide was reduced by almost half, while the methane production almost doubled.
Ponds and lakes cover only 4 percent of Earth’s surface, if we do not take into consideration the areas covered by ice and glaciers. However, these ponds and lakes are one of the main sources of methane and carbon dioxide. Statistics show that ponds smaller than one square meter release around 40 percent of all methane that comes from inland waters.
Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, the lead author of the study, declared that this was the first research that looked at the effects of warming aquatic ecosystems. Since small ponds have such a high contribution to the emission of greenhouse gases, it is important to understand how they might react to global warming.
Thus, they discovered that warming is responsible with affecting the carbon balance of ponds only in a few years. They can no longer absorb carbon dioxide and emit much more methane into the atmosphere.
The experts call such results “positive feedbacks”. This means that global warming affects the biosphere in such a way that the changes that occur in the ecosystem can lead to climate change.
The effects that the researchers noticed after performing the experiment on ponds are different from those typically seen on land. Here, the effects are greater at the beginning and they appear to diminish with the passage of time.
The accelerated effect of warming on ponds might be really dangerous for the climate, since it might have quite a serious impact on climate change.
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