Carbon dioxide (CO2) accumulates under lake ice in winter and degasses to the atmosphere after ice melt. This large springtime CO2 pulse is not typically considered in surface-atmosphere flux estimates, because most field studies have not sampled through ice during late winter. Measured CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) of lake surface water ranged from 8.6 to 4,290 Pa (85-4,230 ??atm) in 234 north temperate and boreal lakes prior to ice melt during 1998 and 1999. Only four lakes had surface pCO2 less than or equal to atmospheric pCO2, whereas 75% had pCO2 >5 times atmospheric. The ??13CDIC (DIC = ??CO2) of 142 of the lakes ranged from -26.28??? to +0.95.???. Lakes with the greatest pCO2 also had the lightest ??13CDIC, which indicates respiration as their primary CO2 source. Finnish lakes that received large amounts of dissolved organic carbon from surrounding peatlands had the greatest pCO2. Lakes set in noncarbonate till and bedrock in Minnesota and Wisconsin had the smallest pCO2 and the heaviest ??13CDIC, which indicates atmospheric and/or mineral sources of C for those lakes. Potential emissions for the period after ice melt were 2.36 ?? 1.44 mol CO2 m-2 for lakes with average pCO2 values and were as large as 13.7 ?? 8.4 mol CO2 m-2 for lakes with high pCO2 values.