Lakes and the Arctic Carbon Cycle

Hosted by the Nottingham branch of the Geographical Association.

Presented by Professor Suzanne McGowan, School of Geography and Centre for Environmental Geochemistry, University of Nottingham.

This lecture looks at current understanding of the carbon cycle in lakes and outlines the importance of linkages between land and lakes.

The Arctic has the highest density of lakes in the world, and yet there are few quantitative estimates of how Arctic lakes process carbon, and how this is affected by global warming. However, Arctic warming is leading to major changes in terrestrial ecosystems such as ‘Arctic greening’ (the northward spread of vegetation ranges), permafrost thaw and increased discharge of meltwaters from ice sheets.

Such changes have the potential to alter biogeochemical processing across terrestrial landscapes, shifting the carbon balance between net storage versus emissions of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane). Understanding these process linkages is vital for assessing feedbacks to warming in Arctic regions. Recent research will be presented with a focus on work in Greenland and will include a range of scientific approaches to address this question such as palaeolimnology (lake sediment core analysis), lake surveys and experiments.

Suzanne McGowan is a Professor of Freshwater Sciences at the School of Geography, University of Nottingham in the UK, and a Research Associate at the British Geological Survey. She uses techniques of limnology and palaeolimnology to understand lake ecosystems and their role in biogeochemical processes. She has particular expertise in chlorophyll and carotenoid analysis as algal biomarkers and has worked on a broad range of lake systems spanning tropical, temperate and Arctic regions.
Twitter: @Suz_McG

School teachers are encouraged to bring A Level students.

Refreshments will be provided after the lecture.

This event is free to attend, however booking is required.

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