Greenhouse gas metabolism in Nordic boreal lakes

Hong Yang*, Tom Andersen, Peter Dörsch, Koji Tominaga, Jan Erik Thrane, Dag O. Hessen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
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Boreal lakes are important net sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs). In this study we analyzed concentrations of CO2, CH4, N2O as well as O2, N2 and argon (Ar) from the epilimnion of 75 boreal lakes covering gradients in total organic carbon (TOC), phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) deposition. The Ar-corrected gas saturation deficit was used as a proxy of net metabolic changes from spring overturn to mid-summer sampling (all lakes were dimictic). Emission fluxes were calculated for CO2, CH4 and N2O based on partial pressure, water temperature and wind speed. Gas concentrations, actual and Ar-corrected, were related to lake-specific properties. TOC was the main predictor of CO2 concentrations and fluxes, followed by total P, while total P and chlorophyll a governed CH4 concentrations and fluxes. Nitrogen (NO3 or total N) were key predictors of N2O concentrations and fluxes, followed by total P. Altitude, area and depth were not strong predictors of CO2, CH4 and N2O concentrations and fluxes, likely because only lakes with an area of >1 km2 were included. CO2 molar concentrations were negatively correlated with O2 concentrations, while the slope of CO2 concentration to Ar corrected O2 deficit was 1.039. Together with the poor correlation between area-specific primary production and CO2 as well as O2, this suggests that these gases are mostly affected by catabolic processes and probably photo-oxidation in these nutrient-poor, boreal lakes investigated in this study. Increasing inputs of TOC (i.e. lake “browning”) is likely to promote the net heterotrophy and hence emissions of all GHGs, while elevated N deposition in particular may cause elevated emissions of N2O.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Boreal lakes
  • Carbon dioxide (CO)
  • Metabolism
  • Methane (CH)
  • Nitrous oxide (NO)


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