It is an accepted fact that fossil fuels create Greenhouse Gases that are responsible for Global warming. People are trying to reduce dependence on such fuels and embrace alternate options. However, new research has added another dimension which relates to the lakes where water flows in from surrounding areas after rains. This water carries with it nutrients from fertilizers which contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Sky News reports that these bodies of water are adding to the problem.

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The research has based its findings on satellite information pertaining to the greenness and size of the lakes. Professor John Downing is the co-author of the paper. He is also director of the University of Minnesota's Sea Grant.

In his opinion, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the lakes will keep increasing as the lakes become greener and more nutrient-rich.

Danger from the lakes

Carbon dioxide comes to mind in any discussion on greenhouse gases and global warming but other gases like methane and nitrous oxide are equally harmful. There are emitted from the lakes due to the presence of nutrients from fertilizers that enter the water bodies after rains. These could be more damaging to the environment because their potential to increase temperatures is comparatively greater, revealed the University of Minnesota study.

Methane is emitted in the form of bubbles and the greener the water, the more the emission of this gas. It has a direct bearing on global warming. The lakes turn green due to the presence of chemicals like phosphorus and nitrogen.

These are the main ingredients of fertilizers. Unless this is controlled, the greenhouse gases produced by the lakes will negate the benefits of discarding fossil fuels.

A possible solution

The 2015 Paris accord on climate change highlighted the effects of global warming and the need to switch over from fossil fuels that generate greenhouse gases to alternate clean energy like solar power or electricity. One of the proposals was to use solar energy instead of diesel to run generators. Another was to promote the concept of electric cars. Some countries have even declared dates for banning fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

However, when it comes to gases like methane and nitrous oxide from the lakes, the philosophy of farming will have to undergo a sea change. The source of these gases are the fertilizers that contain chemicals like phosphorus and nitrogen. Obviously, in order to contain global warming through the use of such products, the farmers will have to opt for natural manures and discard chemical fertilizers.