Increasing maximum lake surface temperature under climate change

Dokulil, Martin T.; de Eyto, Elvira; Maberly, Stephen C. ORCID:; May, Linda ORCID:; Weyhenmeyer, Gesa A.; Woolway, R. Iestyn. 2021 Increasing maximum lake surface temperature under climate change. Climatic Change, 165 (3-4), 56. 17, pp.

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Annual maximum lake surface temperature influences ecosystem structure and function and, in particular, the rates of metabolic activities, species survival and biogeography. Here, we evaluated 50 years of observational data, from 1966 to 2015, for ten European lakes to quantify changes in the annual maximum surface temperature and the duration above a potentially critical temperature of 20 °C. Our results show that annual maximum lake surface temperature has increased at an average rate of +0.58 °C decade−1 (95% confidence interval 0.18), which is similar to the observed increase in annual maximum air temperature of +0.42 °C decade−1 (95% confidence interval 0.28) over the same period. Increments in lake maximum temperature among the ten lakes range from +0.1 in the west to +1.9 °C decade−1 in the east. Absolute maximum lake surface water temperatures were reached in Wörthersee, 27.5 °C, and Neusiedler See, 31.7 °C. Periods exceeding a critical temperature of 20 °C each year became two to six times longer than the respective average (6 to 93). The depth at which water temperature exceeded 20 °C increased from less than 1 to more than 6 m in Mondsee, Austria, over the 50 years studied. As a consequence, the habitable environment became increasingly restricted for many organisms that are adapted to historic conditions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0165-0009
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: warming, critical temperatures, extremes, trends, Europe
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 02 Jun 2021 11:46 +0 (UTC)

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