, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 171-184

A Swedish case study of contemporary and possible future consequences of climate change on lake function

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A physical lake model was employed to obtain a basis of discussing the impact of climate variability and climate change on the ecology of Lake Erken, Sweden. The validity of this approach was tested by running the PROBE-lake model for a 30-year period (STD) with observed meteorological data. The lake is adequately modelled, as seen in the comparison with actual lake observations. The validated lake model was then forced with meteorological data obtained from a regional climate model (RCM) with a horizontal resolution of 44 km for present (CLTR) and 2 × CO2 (SCEN) climate conditions. The CLTR lake simulation compares reasonably with the STD. Applying the SCEN simulation leads to a climate change scenario for the lake. The physical changes include elevated temperatures, shorter periods of ice cover combined with two of ten years being totally ice-free, and changes in the mixing regime. The ecological consequences of the physical simulation results are derived from the historical dataset of Lake Erken. Consequences of a warmer climate could imply increased nutrient cycling and lake productivity. The results suggest that an application of RCMs with a suitable resolution for lakes in combination with physical lake models allows projection of the responses of lakes to a future climate.

Received: 7 July 2001; revised manuscript accepted: 23 January 2002