Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 104, Issue 1, pp 167–180

Climate Change as the Primary Cause for pH Shifts in a High Alpine Lake


  • Karin A. Koinig
    • Institute for Zoology and LimnologyUniversity of Innsbruck
  • Roland Schmidt
    • Dept. of LimnologyAcademy of Science
  • Sabine Sommaruga-Wögrath
    • Institute for Zoology and LimnologyUniversity of Innsbruck
  • Richard Tessadri
    • Institute for MineralogyUniversity of Innsbruck
  • Roland Psenner
    • Institute for Zoology and LimnologyUniversity of Innsbruck

DOI: 10.1023/A:1004941013924

Cite this article as:
Koinig, K.A., Schmidt, R., Sommaruga-Wögrath, S. et al. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution (1998) 104: 167. doi:10.1023/A:1004941013924


Chemical and biological sedimentary records of a high alpine lake were used to reconstruct palaeoecological conditions and compared with two centuries of instrumental temperature measurements. Air temperature determined the lake water pH throughout the past 200 yr almost regardless of the level of atmospheric deposition. Our data suggest a strong climate forcing of the acid-base balance in sensitive high-altitude lakes. Their physico-chemical conditions and biota strongly depend on the duration of ice and snow cover which is significantly different between warm and cold periods. Beside changes in weathering rates, in-lake alkalinity generation and water-retention time, delayed freezing in autumn and earlier ice-out dates with a shorter duration of CO2 over-saturation could be crucial for the tight temperature-pH coupling.

acid-base equilibrium climate change diatoms palaeolimnology pH reconstruction

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998