Consequences of the 2003 European heat wave for lake temperature profiles, thermal stability, and hypolimnetic oxygen depletion: Implications for a warmer world

Jankowski, Thomas, David M. Livingstone, Heinrich B├╝hrer, Richard Forster, Pius Niederhauser

Limnol. Oceanogr., 51(2), 2006, 815-819 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2006.51.2.0815

ABSTRACT: In summer 2003 central Europe suffered an unusually severe heat wave, with air temperatures similar to those predicted for an average summer during the late 21st century. We use a unique set of over half a century of lake data from two lakes in Switzerland to determine the effect of the 2003 heat wave on water temperature and oxygen conditions in order to assess how temperate lakes will react when exposed to the increased ambient summer air temperatures that will be encountered in a generally warmer world and to test the predictions of relevant simulation models. In both lakes, surface temperature and thermal stability in summer 2003 were the highest ever recorded, exceeding the long-term mean by more than 2.5 standard deviations. The extremely high degree of thermal stability resulted in extraordinarily strong hypolimnetic oxygen depletion. These results are consistent with the predictions of the simulation models. Additionally, the results indicate that climatic warming will increase the risk of occurrence of deep-water anoxia, thus counteracting long-term efforts that have been undertaken to ameliorate the effects of anthropogenic eutrophication.

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