Dams Linked to Global Warming

Drawdowns release potent methane gas

Dam removal

Removing the Glines Canyon Dam on Washington's Elwha River     Photo: Courtesy of American Rivers

Dams are the latest global warming culprits, according to researchers at Washington State University. The reservoirs created by dams are hotbeds for methane gas-producing life. When engineers lower water levels through drawdowns, methane release increases 20-fold. “Reservoirs have typically been looked at as a green energy source,” says Bridget Deemer, a doctoral student at Washington State University, Vancouver. “But their role in greenhouse gas emissions has been overlooked.” A 2011 study concluded that reservoir emissions could shave off a quarter of the terrestrial ecosystem’s ability to soak up greenhouse gas emissions. But by timing drawdowns for colder months, engineers might be able to limit the amount of methane released into the environment.

Via The Petri Dish

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