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Large increases in carbon burial in northern lakes during the Anthropocene

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posted on 08.06.2016 by Adam J. Heathcote, Nicholas John Anderson, Yves T. Prairie, Daniel R. Engstrom, Paul A. del Giorgio
Northern forests are important ecosystems for carbon (C) cycling and lakes within them process and bury large amounts of organic-C. Current burial estimates are poorly constrained and may discount other shifts in organic-C burial driven by global change. Here we analyse a suite of northern lakes to determine trends in organic-C burial throughout the Anthropocene. We found burial rates increased significantly over the last century and are up to five times greater than previous estimates. Despite a correlation with temperature, warming alone did not explain the increase in burial, suggesting the importance of other drivers including atmospherically deposited reactive nitrogen. Upscaling mean lake burial rates for each time period to global northern forests yields up to 4.5 Pg C accumulated in the last 100 years—20% of the total burial over the Holocene. Our results indicate that lakes will become increasingly important for C burial under future global change scenarios.

Funding

This project was part of the large-scale research programme of the Industrial Research Chair in Carbon Biogeochemistry in Boreal Aquatic Systems (CarBBAS), co-funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Hydro-Quebec to PdG, and also supported by NSERC funding to Y.T.P., N.J.A. acknowledges the support of a Royal Society (London) Wolfson Merit award.

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  • Social Sciences

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  • Geography and Environment

Published in

NATURE COMMUNICATIONS

Volume

6

Pages

? - ? (6)

Citation

HEATHCOTE, A.J. ... et al, 2015. Large increases in carbon burial in northern lakes during the Anthropocene. Nature Communcications, 6, article no. 10016

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Nature Publishing Group

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VoR (Version of Record)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

ISSN

2041-1723

Language

en

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