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Abstract The quality of lake ice is of uppermost importance for ice safety and under-ice ecology, but its temporal and spatial variability is largely unknown. Here we conducted a coordinated lake ice quality sampling campaign across the Northern Hemisphere during one of the warmest winters since 1880 and show that lake ice during 2020/2021 commonly consisted of unstable white ice, at times contributing up to 100% to the total ice thickness. We observed that white ice increased over the winter season, becoming thickest and constituting the largest proportion of the ice layer towards the end of the ice cover season when fatal winter drownings occur most often and light limits the growth and reproduction of primary producers. We attribute the dominance of white ice before ice-off to air temperatures varying around the freezing point, a condition which occurs more frequently during warmer winters. Thus, under continued global warming, the prevalence of white ice is likely to substantially increase during the critical period before ice-off, for which we adjusted commonly used equations for human ice safety and light transmittance through ice.more » « less
Abstract In recent decades, lakes have experienced unprecedented ice loss with widespread ramifications for winter ecological processes. The rapid loss of ice, resurgence of winter biology, and proliferation of remote sensing technologies, presents a unique opportunity to integrate disciplines to further understand the broad spatial and temporal patterns in ice loss and its consequences. Here, we summarize ice phenology records for 78 lakes in 12 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia to permit the inclusion and harmonization of in situ ice phenology observations in future interdisciplinary studies. These ice records represent some of the longest climate observations directly collected by people. We highlight the importance of applying the same definition of ice-on and ice-off within a lake across the time-series, regardless of how the ice is observed, to broaden our understanding of ice loss across vast spatial and temporal scales.more » « less
Declining oxygen concentrations in the deep waters of lakes worldwide pose a pressing environmental and societal challenge. Existing theory suggests that low deep‐water dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations could trigger a positive feedback through which anoxia (i.e., very low DO) during a given summer begets increasingly severe occurrences of anoxia in following summers. Specifically, anoxic conditions can promote nutrient release from sediments, thereby stimulating phytoplankton growth, and subsequent phytoplankton decomposition can fuel heterotrophic respiration, resulting in increased spatial extent and duration of anoxia. However, while the individual relationships in this feedback are well established, to our knowledge, there has not been a systematic analysis within or across lakes that simultaneously demonstrates all of the mechanisms necessary to produce a positive feedback that reinforces anoxia. Here, we compiled data from 656 widespread temperate lakes and reservoirs to analyze the proposed anoxia begets anoxia feedback. Lakes in the dataset span a broad range of surface area (1–126,909 ha), maximum depth (6–370 m), and morphometry, with a median time‐series duration of 30 years at each lake. Using linear mixed models, we found support for each of the positive feedback relationships between anoxia, phosphorus concentrations, chlorophyll
aconcentrations, and oxygen demand across the 656‐lake dataset. Likewise, we found further support for these relationships by analyzing time‐series data from individual lakes. Our results indicate that the strength of these feedback relationships may vary with lake‐specific characteristics: For example, we found that surface phosphorus concentrations were more positively associated with chlorophyll ain high‐phosphorus lakes, and oxygen demand had a stronger influence on the extent of anoxia in deep lakes. Taken together, these results support the existence of a positive feedback that could magnify the effects of climate change and other anthropogenic pressures driving the development of anoxia in lakes around the world.
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