Climate Change

Variations in lake temperature trends

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Science  22 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6271, pp. 351-352
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6271.351-b

A section of Lake Como, Italy

PHOTO: © DANIEL SCHOENEN/DANIEL SCHÖNEN/LOOK-FOTO/CORBIS

Lake ecosystems are very sensitive to even small changes in water temperature, so knowing how their temperatures are changing in response to global warming is important for understanding nutrient cycling, ecosystem productivity, and food web interactions within them. O'Reilly et al. combined satellite and in situ surface summertime water temperature data for nearly 250 lakes worldwide, in order to determine broad trends as well as variability across a range of lake sizes and geomorphologies. They show that surface-water warming rates depend both on climate and local factors, and they find that there is less regional consistency in lake warming than has been supposed. This implies that predicting how lake ecosystems will respond to climate change depends on much more than simply where the lake is located.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2015GL066235 (2015).

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