Less snow may hasten climate change

Published: 2019-02-18


According to a new study, published in mSphere and led by SciLifeLab Fellow Sari Peura, a decreased snow cover on lakes increase the levels of methane, something that may hasten climate change.

Climate change may lead to less snow covering lakes in boreal and subarctic regions. Forest lakes are substantial contributors of methane emissions, and research now shows that the lakes release even more methane with a decreased snow cover. Light could more easily penetrate the ice with the snow gone, which increased the water temperature and changed the microbial composition.

“We have seen that the methane concentration increase when the ice is not covered by snow. Bacteria that consume methane grow much slower. What happens in the spring when the ice melts is that more methane is released into the atmosphere and that increases the greenhouse effect”, says Sari Peura, (SciLifeLab/SLU), to SVT Nyheter Uppsala.