Possible effects of global climate change on the ecosystem of Lake Tanganyika
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Any change in the air temperature, wind speed, precipitation, and incoming solar radiation induced by increasing greenhouse gasses and climate change will directly influence lakes and other water bodies. The influence can cause changes in the physical (water temperature, stratification, transparency), chemical (nutrient loading, oxygen) and biological (structure and functioning of the ecosystem) components of the Lake. In this work an influence of the likely effects of the climate change on the above three components of Lake Tanganyika are studied by means of a simple ecological model. Simulations for the years 2002–2009 have been performed using the wind and solar radiation data from the National Centres for Environmental Protection (NCEP) reanalysis. Various possible climatic scenarios are studied by changing the surface layer depth, its temperature and the wind stress. Any change in any of the above physical forcing parameters modifies the timing and intensity of the dry season peaks of the biogeochemical parameters. It is seen that the gross production increases as temperature of the surface layer increases and its depth decreases. High temperature and low wind stress, reduces the biomass. The effects of a slight increase in lake water temperature on the Lake Tanganyika ecosystem might be mitigated by increased windiness, if the latter was sufficient to induce greater mixing.
KeywordsLake Tanganyika Ecological and hydrodynamic model Climate change Sensitivity analysis
This work is based on the previous research projects funded by the Belgian Science Policy: ‘Climate Variability as Recorded by Lake Tanganyika’, CLIMLAKE, and ‘Climate change impact on the sustainable use of Lake Tanganyika fisheries’: CLIMFISH (STEREO) with the help of the Belgian Cooperation (DGCD) within the framework agreement with the Royal Museum for Central Africa (MRAC), Tervuren, Belgium. Part of this work was achieved in the framework of the CHOLTIC project, funded by the Belgian Science Policy office (BELSPO) under contract SD/AR/04a. Thanks are due to Prof. Yves Cornet of the University of Liege, Liege, Belgium. Eric Deleersnijder is a Research Associate with the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS).
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