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Freshwater bodies emit more greenhouse gases than thought

Freshwater bodies emit more greenhouse gases than thought
Highlights

The worlds rivers and streams pump about 10 times more methane into our atmosphere than scientists estimated in previous studies, new research...

New York: The world's rivers and streams pump about 10 times more methane into our atmosphere than scientists estimated in previous studies, new research suggests.

Do not underestimate the babbling brook. When it comes to greenhouse gases, these bucolic water bodies have the potential to create a lot of hot air.

"Scientists know that inland waters, like lakes and reservoirs, are big sources of methane," said study lead author Emily Stanley, professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
Yet accurately measuring emissions of methane from these sources has remained a challenge. Methane from freshwater is often a byproduct of bacterial metabolism, as they break down organic matter under low-oxygen conditions, like in the sediment at the bottom of a lake.
As the climate warms, the contribution of greenhouse gases from natural sources like rivers, streams and wetlands is expected to increase because higher temperatures accelerate this bacterial breakdown, releasing more carbon dioxide and methane.
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