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Intralake heterogeneity of thermal responses to climate change: a study of large northern hemisphere lakes

Woolway, R. I. and Merchant, C. J. (2018) Intralake heterogeneity of thermal responses to climate change: a study of large northern hemisphere lakes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123 (6). pp. 3087-3098. ISSN 2169-8996

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2017JD027661

Abstract/Summary

Lake surface water temperature (LSWT) measurements from various sources illustrate that lakes are warming in response to climate change. Most previous studies of geographical distributions of lake warming have tended to utilize data with limited spatial resolution of LSWTs, including single-point time series. Spatially resolved LSWT time-series are now available from satellite observations and some studies have investigated previously the intra-lake warming patterns in specific lakes (e.g., North American Great Lakes). However, across-lake comparisons of intra-lake warming differences have not yet been investigated at a large, across-continental scale, thus limiting our understanding of how intra-lake warming patterns differ more broadly. In this study, we analyze up to 20 years of satellite data from 19 lakes situated across the Northern Hemisphere, to investigate how LSWT changes vary across different lake surfaces. We find considerable intra-lake variability in warming trends across many lakes. The deepest areas of large lakes are characterized by a later onset of thermal stratification, a shorter stratified warming season and exhibit longer correlation timescales of LSWT anomalies. We show that deep areas of large lakes across the Northern Hemisphere as a result tend to display higher rates of warming of summer LSWT, arising from a greater temporal persistence in deep areas of the temperature anomalies associated with an earlier onset of thermal stratification. Utilization of single-point LSWT trends to represent changes in large lakes therefore suppresses important aspects of lake responses to climate change, whereas spatially resolved LSWT measurements can be exploited to provide more comprehensive understanding.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:76383
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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