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Abstract One of the most important physical characteristics driving lifecycle events in lakes is stratification. Already subtle variations in the timing of stratification onset and break-up (phenology) are known to have major ecological effects, mainly by determining the availability of light, nutrients, carbon and oxygen to organisms. Despite its ecological importance, historic and future global changes in stratification phenology are unknown. Here, we used a lake-climate model ensemble and long-term observational data, to investigate changes in lake stratification phenology across the Northern Hemisphere from 1901 to 2099. Under the high-greenhouse-gas-emission scenario, stratification will begin 22.0 ± 7.0 days earlier and end 11.3 ± 4.7 days later by the end of this century. It is very likely that this 33.3 ± 11.7 day prolongation in stratification will accelerate lake deoxygenation with subsequent effects on nutrient mineralization and phosphorus release from lake sediments. Further misalignment of lifecycle events, with possible irreversible changes for lake ecosystems, is also likely.more » « less
Abstract. Empirical evidence demonstrates that lakes and reservoirs are warming acrossthe globe. Consequently, there is an increased need to project futurechanges in lake thermal structure and resulting changes in lakebiogeochemistry in order to plan for the likely impacts. Previous studies ofthe impacts of climate change on lakes have often relied on a single modelforced with limited scenario-driven projections of future climate for arelatively small number of lakes. As a result, our understanding of theeffects of climate change on lakes is fragmentary, based on scatteredstudies using different data sources and modelling protocols, and mainlyfocused on individual lakes or lake regions. This has precludedidentification of the main impacts of climate change on lakes at global andregional scales and has likely contributed to the lack of lake water qualityconsiderations in policy-relevant documents, such as the Assessment Reportsof the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Here, we describe asimulation protocol developed by the Lake Sector of the Inter-SectoralImpact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP) for simulating climate changeimpacts on lakes using an ensemble of lake models and climate changescenarios for ISIMIP phases 2 and 3. The protocol prescribes lakesimulations driven by climate forcing from gridded observations anddifferent Earth system models under various representative greenhouse gasconcentration pathways (RCPs), all consistently bias-corrected on a0.5∘ × 0.5∘ global grid. In ISIMIP phase 2, 11 lakemodels were forced with these data to project the thermal structure of 62well-studied lakes where data were available for calibration underhistorical conditions, and using uncalibrated models for 17 500 lakesdefined for all global grid cells containing lakes. In ISIMIP phase 3, thisapproach was expanded to consider more lakes, more models, and moreprocesses. The ISIMIP Lake Sector is the largest international effort toproject future water temperature, thermal structure, and ice phenology oflakes at local and global scales and paves the way for future simulations ofthe impacts of climate change on water quality and biogeochemistry in lakes.more » « less