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Inland waters may be an important source or sink of carbon globally. However, understanding the influence of aquatic bodies on global carbon cycling is hindered by the use of poorly constrained ecosystem metabolism budgets. In lakes, biological respiration can supersaturate surface waters with CO2 and lead to a net flux of the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. Previous research has shown that physical processes such as wind mixing and convection strongly control gas exchange at the air-water interface; yet, flux variability is not incorporated into most modeled estimates of ecosystem metabolism. This study uses a high frequency, globally distributed lake dataset to examine how the variability in gas exchange values output from three published models influences estimates of lake productivity and net carbon flux.

August 2013 workshop. GLEON fellows collaborating on science projects