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Citizen science shows systematic changes in the temperature difference between air and inland waters with global warming

Weyhenmeyer, G. A., Mackay, M., Stockwell, J. D., Thiery, W., Grossart, H.-P., Augusto-Silva, P. B., Baulch, H. M., de Eyto, E., Hejzlar, J., Kangur, K., Kirillin, G., Pierson, D. C., Rusak, J. A., Sadro, S. and Woolway, R. I. ORCID: (2017) Citizen science shows systematic changes in the temperature difference between air and inland waters with global warming. Scientific Reports, 7. 43890. ISSN 2045-2322

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/srep43890


Citizen science projects have a long history in ecological studies. The research usefulness of such projects is dependent on applying simple and standardized methods. Here, we conducted a citizen science project that involved more than 3500 Swedish high school students to examine the temperature difference between surface water and the overlying air (Tw-Ta) as a proxy for sensible heat flux (QH). If QH is directed upward, corresponding to positive Tw-Ta, it can enhance CO2 and CH4 emissions from inland waters, thereby contributing to increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The students found mostly negative Tw-Ta across small ponds, lakes, streams/rivers and the sea shore (i.e. downward QH), with Tw-Ta becoming increasingly negative with increasing Ta. Further examination of Tw-Ta using high-frequency temperature data from inland waters across the globe confirmed that Tw-Ta is linearly related to Ta. Using the longest available high-frequency temperature time series from Lake Erken, Sweden, we found a rapid increase in the occasions of negative Tw-Ta with increasing annual mean Ta since 1989. From these results, we can expect that ongoing and projected global warming will result in increasingly negative Tw-Ta, thereby reducing CO2 and CH4 transfer velocities from inland waters into the atmosphere.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:69659
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group


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