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Scientists study how lakes in Siberian Arctic influence the global warming

These are the scientists from Russia, Sweden and France working in the framework of the international project SIWA "Siberian inland waters"

TOMSK, April 23. /TASS/. Scientists at the Tomsk State University jointly with partners from Sweden’s Umea University and France’s Midi-Pyrenees Observatory completed the first studies of lakes in the Siberian Arctic to see their impact on the Arctic climate. Received data will be helpful for climate change forecasts, the Russian University’s press service told TASS on Tuesday.

"The Tomsk University’s scientists and their counterparts from the Umea University, Sweden, and from Midi-Pyrenees Observatory, France, in the framework of the international project SIWA "Siberian inland waters" for the first time studied the emission of greenhouse gases from thermokarst lakes in Western Siberia’s permafrost zone <...> During the comprehensive studies, the international research group collected a large array of unique data on how Western Siberian thermokarst lakes contribute to the greenhouse effect. Using this data, scientists will understand better what environmental processes continue in the Russian Arctic zone, they will forecast what will happen to the permafrost and what climate changes the humanity will face in future," the press service said.

A huge number of thermokarst lakes is scattered across the Siberian Arctic - they emit lots of greenhouse gases. The lakes have attracted scientists from all over the world, especially those who work on long-term forecasts of the planet’s climate. Current forecasts use information about 5-10 lakes, which is not sufficient to understand how the greenhouse effect develops.

The scientists took tests from 76 lakes. The studies were made three times during the period of open water - in spring, summer and autumn. During the research, scientists measured concentration of dissolved carbon in lake water, studied the elemental composition, as well as volumes of emission (evaporation) of carbon dioxide and methane off the water surface. Thus, the scientists determined factors which affect the emission - depth of the lake, temperature of water and air, air pressure, air flows, etc.

"They saw that maximum emissions happen in spring, when lakes wake up from winter and throw into the air the stock they have kept through the winter," the press service said. "Another active period is the season of rains in autumn, when water-covered areas grow dramatically."

"Emissions are getting bigger from south to the north and the peak rates are registered at the permafrost areas, where they are by 2-5 times higher, than in the south," the University’s press service said.

The received information was published in the Nature Communications magazine and will be used for Arctic forecasts. -0kar.