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We present an experimental and theoretical investigation of the temperature dependence of the threshold current for double quantum well GaInNAs-GaAs lasers in the temperature range 10 degC-110 degC. Pulsed measurements of the threshold current have been performed on broad and narrow ridge wave guide (RWG) lasers. The narrow RWG lasers exhibit high characteristic temperatures (T0) of 200 K up to a critical temperature (Tc), above which T0 is reduced by approximately a factor of 2. The T0-values for broad RWG lasers are significantly lower than those for the narrow RWG lasers, with characteristic temperatures on the order of 100 (60) K below (above) Tc. Numerical simulations, using a model that accounts for lateral diffusion effects, show good agreement with experimental data and reveal that a weakly temperature dependent lateral diffusion current dominates the threshold current for narrow RWG lasers.