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On thinning ice: effects of atmospheric warming, changes in wind speed and rainfall on ice conditions in temperate lakes (Northern Poland)

Bartosiewicz, M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5197-1630, Ptak, M., Woolway, R. I. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0498-7968 and Sojka, M. (2021) On thinning ice: effects of atmospheric warming, changes in wind speed and rainfall on ice conditions in temperate lakes (Northern Poland). Journal of Hydrology, 597. 125724. ISSN 0022-1694

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.125724

Abstract/Summary

Northern Hemisphere lakes are losing their ice cover due to climate change. Here we explored six decades of observational data (1961–2017) showing trends in air temperature, wind speed and precipitation over northern Poland, as well as changes in the ice conditions for five lakes with different morphometry. We evaluated whether and to what extent climatic effects, including atmospheric warming, changing wind speed and rainfall during fall and winter, influence ice conditions in morphometrically different lakes in Northern Poland. Our analysis demonstrated that ice cover duration and thickness decreased at rates of 5.4 days decade−1 and 2.5 cm decade−1, respectively. Ice conditions were influenced (65–75%) by the direct effects of air temperature change and to some extent by an interaction of warming with wind speed and precipitation (5–10%). While stronger autumnal winds result in longer ice cover duration, the effect of precipitation is bimodal with either an enhancement of ice formation by autumnal rain or accelerated ice loss during spring. To project future changes in ice conditions, we used a 1D hydrodynamic lake model forced with four climate model projections under low, medium and high Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. Our simulations demonstrate that current ice conditions will stabilize under the low emission scenario (RCP 2.6) but decrease under both the medium and high emission scenarios (RCP 6.0 and 8.5). During the 21st century, the lakes are projected to lose their ice at a rate between 4.5- and 10-days decade−1 and ice thickness will decrease by between 3.0 and 5.0 cm decade−1. The rate of change will be greater in smaller rather than larger lakes and more so for those situated further inland. The probability of ice-free winters will increase for all lakes and among all future scenarios by between 4 and 69% with the highest potential frequency of ice-free winters in smaller and deeper but relatively wind-exposed lakes.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:100092
Publisher:Elsevier

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