Applicability and consequences of the integration of alternative models for CO2 transfer velocity into a process-based lake model
Freshwater lakes are important in carbon cycling, especially in the boreal zone where many lakes are supersaturated with the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and emit it to the atmosphere, thus ventilating carbon originally fixed by the terrestrial system. The exchange of CO2 between water and the atmosphere is commonly estimated using simple wind-based parameterizations or models of gas transfer velocity (k). More complex surface renewal models, however, have been shown to yield more correct estimates of k in comparison with direct CO2 flux measurements. We incorporated four gas exchange models with different complexity into a vertical process-based physico-biochemical lake model, MyLake C, and assessed the performance and applicability of the alternative lake model versions to simulate air–water CO2 fluxes over a small boreal lake. None of the incorporated gas exchange models significantly outperformed the other models in the simulations in comparison to the measured near-surface CO2 concentrations or respective air–water CO2 fluxes calculated directly with the gas exchange models using measurement data as input. The use of more complex gas exchange models in the simulation, on the contrary, led to difficulties in obtaining a sufficient gain of CO2 in the water column and thus resulted in lower CO2 fluxes and water column CO2 concentrations compared to the respective measurement-based values. The inclusion of sophisticated and more correct models for air–water CO2 exchange in process-based lake models is crucial in efforts to properly assess lacustrine carbon budgets through model simulations in both single lakes and on a larger scale. However, finding higher estimates for both the internal and external sources of inorganic carbon in boreal lakes is important if improved knowledge of the magnitude of CO2 evasion from lakes is included in future studies on lake carbon budgets.