Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
Biogeosciences, 6, 209–223, 2009
Biogeosciences, 6, 209–223, 2009

  16 Feb 2009

16 Feb 2009

Methane dynamics in different boreal lake types

S. Juutinen*,1, M. Rantakari2, P. Kortelainen2, J. T. Huttunen3,†, T. Larmola1, J. Alm4, J. Silvola1, and P. J. Martikainen3 S. Juutinen et al.
  • 1Department of Biology, University of Joensuu, Finland
  • 2Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Kuopio, Finland
  • 4Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Unit, Finland
  • *now at: Mount Holyoke College, Environmental Studies Program, USA
  • Passed away during the course of the project
  • **now at: Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. This study explores the variability in concentrations of dissolved CH4 and annual flux estimates in the pelagic zone in a statistically defined sample of 207 lakes in Finland. The lakes were situated in the boreal zone, in an area where the mean annual air temperature ranges from −2.8 to 5.9°C. We examined how lake CH4 dynamics related to regional lake types assessed according to the EU water framework directive. Ten lake types were defined on the basis of water chemistry, color, and size. Lakes were sampled for dissolved CH4 concentrations four times per year, at four different depths at the deepest point of each lake. We found that CH4 concentrations and fluxes to the atmosphere tended to be high in nutrient rich calcareous lakes, and that the shallow lakes had the greatest surface water concentrations. Methane concentration in the hypolimnion was related to oxygen and nutrient concentrations, and to lake depth or lake area. The surface water CH4 concentration was related to the depth or area of lake. Methane concentration close to the bottom can be viewed as proxy of lake status in terms of frequency of anoxia and nutrient levels. The mean pelagic CH4 release from randomly selected lakes was 49 mmol m−2 a−1. The sum CH4 flux (storage and diffusion) correlated with lake depth, area and nutrient content, and CH4 release was greatest from the shallow nutrient rich and humic lakes. Our results support earlier lake studies regarding the regulating factors and also the magnitude of global emission estimate. These results propose that in boreal region small lakes have higher CH4 fluxes per unit area than larger lakes, and that the small lakes have a disproportionate significance regarding to the CH4 release.

Final-revised paper