Cooling lakes while the world warms: Effects of forest regrowth and increased dissolved organic matter on the thermal regime of a temperate, urban lake

Tanentzap, Andrew J., Norman D. Yan, Bill Keller, Robert Girard, Jocelyne Heneberry, John M. Gunn, David P. Hamilton, Peter A. Taylor

Limnol. Oceanogr., 53(1), 2008, 404-410 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2008.53.1.0404

ABSTRACT: Depending on the magnitudes and directions of changes in air temperatures, winds, and underwater light attenuation, lakes may either warm or cool. Here we report a 28-yr decrease in the whole-lake average temperature of Clearwater Lake, Canada, despite regional signatures of climate warming. Using a one-dimensional lake mixing model, we demonstrate that this pattern was attributable to a 35% reduction in surface wind speeds, itself explained by forest regrowth following local SO2 emission reductions and tree planting, and a 10-fold increase in dissolved organic carbon concentrations causing a substantial increase in vertical light attenuation following deacidification of the lake. Long-term trends in lake temperatures do not necessarily follow those of air temperatures. The Clearwater Lake data demonstrate that any factors that influence local wind speeds and underwater light attenuation should be considered as modifiers of the effects of climate warming on lake thermal regimes.

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