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Global lake responses to climate change

Woolway, R. I. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0498-7968, Kraemer, B. M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3390-9005, Lenters, J. D., Merchant, C. J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4687-9850, O’Reilly, C. M. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9685-3697 and Sharma, S. (2020) Global lake responses to climate change. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. ISSN 2662-138X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s43017-020-0067-5

Abstract/Summary

Climate change is one of the most severe threats to global lake ecosystems. Lake surface conditions, such as ice cover, surface temperature, evaporation and water level, respond dramatically to this threat, as observed in recent decades. In this Review, we discuss physical lake variables and their responses to climate change. Decreases in winter ice cover and increases in lake surface temperature modify lake mixing regimes and accelerate lake evaporation. Where not balanced by increased mean precipitation or inflow, higher evaporation rates will favour a decrease in lake level and surface water extent. Together with increases in extreme-precipitation events, these lake responses will impact lake ecosystems, changing water quantity and quality, food provisioning, recreational opportunities and transportation. Future research opportunities, including enhanced observation of lake variables from space (particularly for small water bodies), improved in situ lake monitoring and the development of advanced modelling techniques to predict lake processes, will improve our global understanding of lake responses to a changing climate.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:91787
Publisher:Nature

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