skip to main content

Title: Global data set of long-term summertime vertical temperature profiles in 153 lakes
Abstract Climate change and other anthropogenic stressors have led to long-term changes in the thermal structure, including surface temperatures, deepwater temperatures, and vertical thermal gradients, in many lakes around the world. Though many studies highlight warming of surface water temperatures in lakes worldwide, less is known about long-term trends in full vertical thermal structure and deepwater temperatures, which have been changing less consistently in both direction and magnitude. Here, we present a globally-expansive data set of summertime in-situ vertical temperature profiles from 153 lakes, with one time series beginning as early as 1894. We also compiled lake geographic, morphometric, and water quality variables that can influence vertical thermal structure through a variety of potential mechanisms in these lakes. These long-term time series of vertical temperature profiles and corresponding lake characteristics serve as valuable data to help understand changes and drivers of lake thermal structure in a time of rapid global and ecological change.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1930655 2025982 1754276 1950170 1255159
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Data
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Globally, lake surface water temperatures have warmed rapidly relative to air temperatures, but changes in deepwater temperatures and vertical thermal structure are still largely unknown. We have compiled the most comprehensive data set to date of long-term (1970–2009) summertime vertical temperature profiles in lakes across the world to examine trends and drivers of whole-lake vertical thermal structure. We found significant increases in surface water temperatures across lakes at an average rate of + 0.37 °C decade −1 , comparable to changes reported previously for other lakes, and similarly consistent trends of increasing water column stability (+ 0.08 kg m −3 decade −1 ). In contrast, however, deepwater temperature trends showed little change on average (+ 0.06 °C decade −1 ), but had high variability across lakes, with trends in individual lakes ranging from − 0.68 °C decade −1 to + 0.65 °C decade −1 . The variability in deepwater temperature trends was not explained by trends in either surface water temperatures or thermal stability within lakes, and only 8.4% was explained by lake thermal region or local lake characteristics in a random forest analysis. These findings suggest that external drivers beyond our tested lake characteristics are important in explaining long-term trends in thermal structure, such as local to regional climate patterns or additional external anthropogenic influences. 
    more » « less
  2. We present and evaluate an update to the process‐based lake model MyLake that includes a time‐varying linkage between light attenuation of both photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and ultraviolet (UV) radiation wavelengths to changes in dissolved organic carbon (DOC). In many parts of northeastern North America and Europe, DOC in lakes has rapidly increased, leading to reduced water transparency and increases in light attenuation. These changes alter the vertical light and heat distribution that affect vertical structuring of temperature and dissolved oxygen. We use this model update to test the responsiveness of PAR and UV attenuation to short‐term fluctuations in DOC and with a test case of long‐term browning at Lake Giles (Pennsylvania). Lake Giles has browned significantly since the late 1980s, and three decades of detailed empirical data have indicated more than a doubling of DOC concentrations, and consequent increases in PAR and UV attenuation, warming surface waters, cooling deep waters, and increasing deepwater oxygen depletion. We found that the model performance improved by 16% and 52% for long‐term trends in PAR and UV attenuation, respectively, when these coefficients respond directly to in‐lake DOC concentrations. Further, long‐term trends in surface water warming, deepwater cooling, and deepwater oxygen depletion in Lake Giles were better captured by the model following this update, and were very rapid due to its high water transparency and low DOC. Hence, incorporating a responsive link between DOC and light attenuation in lake models is key to understanding long‐term lake browning patterns, mechanisms, and ecological consequences.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Lake surface temperatures are warming in many regions and have the potential to alter seasonal thermal stratification. However, the effects of climate change on thermal stratification can be difficult to characterize because trends in thermal stratification can be regulated by changes in multiple climate variables and other characteristics, such as water clarity. Here, we use long‐term (1993–2017) data from near‐pristine Crater Lake (Oregon) to understand long‐term changes in the depth and strength of summer stratification, measured by the center of buoyancy and Schmidt Stability, respectively. The depth of stratification has shoaled significantly (2.4 m decade−1), while stratification strength exhibited no long‐term trend. Empirical observations and modeling scenarios demonstrate that atmospheric stilling at Crater Lake is associated with the 25‐year shoaling trend as spring wind speeds declined over the observation period. While summer lake surface water and air temperatures warmed during the study period, spring air temperatures were variable and correlated with summer Schmidt Stability. Our results indicate that warmer spring air temperature resulted in earlier onset of stratification and stronger summer stratification. The observed shoaling of stratification depth at Crater Lake may have important ecological consequences, especially for non‐motile primary producers who can become constrained within a thinner epilimnion and exposed to higher solar radiation and reduced upwelling of nutrients. Driven by climate changes, many large lakes may be experiencing similar trends in seasonal stratification.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract. Lakes in the Arctic are important reservoirs of heat withmuch lower albedo in summer and greater absorption of solar radiation thansurrounding tundra vegetation. In the winter, lakes that do not freeze totheir bed have a mean annual bed temperature >0 ∘C inan otherwise frozen landscape. Under climate warming scenarios, we expectArctic lakes to accelerate thawing of underlying permafrost due to warmingwater temperatures in the summer and winter. Previous studies of Arcticlakes have focused on ice cover and thickness, the ice decay process,catchment hydrology, lake water balance, and eddy covariance measurements,but little work has been done in the Arctic to model lake heat balance. Weapplied the LAKE 2.0 model to simulate water temperatures in three Arcticlakes in northern Alaska over several years and tested the sensitivity ofthe model to several perturbations of input meteorological variables(precipitation, shortwave radiation, and air temperature) and several modelparameters (water vertical resolution, sediment vertical resolution, depthof soil column, and temporal resolution). The LAKE 2.0 model is aone-dimensional model that explicitly solves vertical profiles of waterstate variables on a grid. We used a combination of meteorological data fromlocal and remote weather stations, as well as data derived from remotesensing, to drive the model. We validated modeled water temperatures withdata of observed lake water temperatures at several depths over severalyears for each lake. Our validation of the LAKE 2.0 model is a necessarystep toward modeling changes in Arctic lake ice regimes, lake heat balance,and thermal interactions with permafrost. The sensitivity analysis shows usthat lake water temperature is not highly sensitive to small changes in airtemperature or precipitation, while changes in shortwave radiation and largechanges in precipitation produced larger effects. Snow depth and lake icestrongly affect water temperatures during the frozen season, which dominatesthe annual thermal regime of Arctic lakes. These findings suggest thatreductions in lake ice thickness and duration could lead to more heatstorage by lakes and enhanced permafrost degradation. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Ice‐off dates on lakes are some of the longest phenological records in the field of ecology, and some of the best evidence of long‐term climatic change. However, there has been little investigation as to whether the date of ice‐off on a lake impacts spring and summer ecosystem dynamics. Here, I analyzed 274 years of long‐term data from eight north temperate lakes in two climate zones to address whether lakes have ecological memory of ice‐off in the subsequent summer. Five metrics were investigated: epilimnion temperatures, hypolimnion temperatures, hypolimnetic oxygen drawdown, water clarity, and spring primary productivity. The response of the metrics to ice‐off date were variable across latitude and lake type. The northern set of lakes stratified quickly following ice‐off, and early ice‐off years resulted in significantly warmer hypolimnetic temperatures. Oxygen depletion in the hypolimnion was not impacted by ice‐off date, likely because in late ice‐off years the lakes did not fully mix. In the southern lakes, ice‐off date was not correlated to the onset of stratification, with the latter being a more dominant control on hypolimnetic temperature and oxygen. The implications of these findings is that as ice‐off date trends earlier in many parts of the world, the lakes that will likely experience the largest changes in spring and summer ecosystem properties are the lakes that currently have the longest duration of lake ice. In considering a future with warmer winters, these results provide a starting point for predicting how lake ecosystem properties will change with earlier ice‐off.

    more » « less