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Climatic Change

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 377–412 | Cite as

Projections of Climate Change Effects on Water Temperature Characteristics of Small Lakes in the Contiguous U.S.

  • Xing Fang
  • Heinz G. Stefan
Article

Abstract

To simulate effects of projected climate change on water temperature characteristics of small lakes in the contiguous U.S., a deterministic, one-dimensional year-round water temperature model is applied. In cold regions the model simulates ice and snow cover on a lake. The lake parameters required as model input are surface area, maximum depth, and Secchi depth as a measure of radiation attenuation and trophic state. The model is driven by daily weather data. Weather records from 209 stations in the contiguous U.S. for the period 1961–1979 were used to represent present climate conditions. The projected climate change owing to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 was obtained from the output of the Canadian Climate Center General Circulation Model. The simulated water temperature and ice characteristics are related to the geometric and trophic state lake characteristics and to geographic location. By interpolation, the sensitivity of lake water temperature characteristics to latitude, longitude, lake geometry and trophic status can therefore be quantified for small lakes in the contiguous U.S. The 2× CO2 climate scenario is projected to increase maximum and minimum lake surface temperatures by up to 5.2°C. (Maximum surface water temperatures in lakes near the northern and the southern border of the contiguous U.S. currently differ by up to 13°C.) Maximum temperature differences between lake surface and lake bottom are projected to increase in average by only 1 to 2°C after climate warming. The duration of seasonal summer stratification is projected to be up to 66 days longer under a 2×CO2 climate scenario. Water temperatures of less than 8°C are projected to occur on lake bottoms during a period which is on the order of 50 days shorter under a 2×CO2 climate scenario. With water temperature change projected to be as high as 5.2°C, ecological impacts such as shifts in species distributions and in fish habitat are most likely. Ice covers on lakes of northern regions would also be changed strongly.

Keywords

Secchi Depth Small Lake Lake Surface Lake Bottom Maximum Temperature Difference 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xing Fang
    • 1
  • Heinz G. Stefan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringLamar UniversityBeaumontU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisU.S.A.

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