Global Warming

Dams May Contribute to Greenhouse Gas Levels

Washington State University research shows more methane bubbles out of water as it is drawn down.

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Washington State Univ. researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

Bridget Deemer, a doctoral student at Washington State Univ.-Vancouver, measured dissolved gases in the water column of Lacamas Lake in Clark County and found methane emissions jumped 20-fold when the water level was drawn down. A fellow WSU-Vancouver student, Maria Glavin, sampled bubbles rising from the lake mud and measured a 36-fold increase in methane during a drawdown.