SOS (Source or Sink?) Project Science Summary
In the era of anthropogenic climate change, the importance of carbon accounting has never been greater. Whereas attempts to assess global carbon budgets have focused on the roles of land and ocean, relatively little research has been devoted to the role of lakes. Lakes process more carbon per unit of surface area than land and most of this carbon is terrestrially derived, but it is still an open question as to whether lakes are net sources or sinks of carbon. We combine principles of limnology, ecosystem ecology and landscape ecology in an integrated process-based model to estimate lake carbon budgets and the conditions that make lakes carbon sources vs. sinks.
Our research questions are 1) how do lake carbon budgets vary along environmental gradients?, 2) how do lake carbon budgets vary seasonally relative to annual and long-term trends, 3) what is the role of parameter uncertainty in modeling lake carbon budgets and 4) what is the role of lakes in global carbon budgets?