Lakes around the world are warming due to climate change. This increase in lake temperatures is threatening ecosystems and fresh water resources across the globe.
Associate Professor Justin Brookes from the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute was one of 64 scientists around the world who took part in research published in the journal Geographical Research Letters.
The massive study monitored 235 lakes around the world between 1985 and 2009 using a combination of long term hand measurements and temperature measurements from satellite data.
The research showed that lakes are warming faster than the ocean surface temperatures and air temperatures around them. This rapid rise in lake temperatures could have major damaging consequences for lake ecosystems.
Warmer lakes create algae blooms which are toxic to fish, rob the water of oxygen and inhibit plant and animal life in the lakes. The increase in temperatures will also cause emissions of the dangerous green house gas methane to increase from the lakes. Higher temperatures causing increased evaporation can also lead to decreased water levels, creating implications for water security and nutritional and economic consequences for communities that rely on fisheries.
The study revealed the urgent need to include climate impacts into assessments and adaption efforts for lakes.
(Lake Baika image source: findpik.com)