Rapid and highly variable warming of lake surface waters around the globe

Published in Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 42(24):10,773-10,781 

O'Reilly, C.M., Sharma, S., Gray, D.K., Hampton, S.E., Read, J.S., Rowley, R.J., Schneider, P., Lenters, J.D., McIntyre, P.B., Kraemer, B.M., Weyhenmeyer, G.A., Straile, D., Dong, B., Adrian, R., Allan, M.G., Anneville, O., Arvola, L., Austin, J., Bailey, J.L., Baron, J.S., Brookes, J.D., de Eyto, E., Dokulil, M.T., Hamilton, D.P., Havens, K., Hetherington, A.L., Higgins, S.N., Hook, S., Izmest'eva, L.R., Joehnk, K.D., Kangur, K., Kasprzak, P., Kumagai, M., Kuusisto, E., Leshkevich, G., Livingstone, D.M., MacIntyre, S., May, L., Melack, J.M., Mueller-Navarra, D.C., Naumenko, M., Noges, P., Noges, T., North, R.P., Plisnier, P.D., Rigosi, A., Rimmer, A., Rogora, M., Rudstam, L.G., Rusak, J.A., Salmaso, N., Samal, N.R., Schindler, D.E., Schladow, S.G., Schmid, M., Schmidt, S.R., Silow, E., Soylu, M.E., Teubner, K., Verburg, P., Voutilainen, A., Watkinson, A., Williamson, C.E. and Zhang, G.

Publication year 2015
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL066235

Department of Geography-Geology, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA Department of Biology, York University,Toronto, Ontario, Canada Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, California University of Pennsylvania,California, Pennsylvania, USA Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach, Washington State University,Pullman, Washington, USA U.S. Geological Survey-Center for Integrated Data Analytics, Middleton, Wisconsin, USA Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway LimnoTech, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Center for Limnology,University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA Department of Ecology and Genetics/Limnology, UppsalaUniversity, Uppsala, Sweden Limnological Institute, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany Department ofAtmospheric and Environmental Sciences, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York, USA Department ofEcosystem Research, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany EnvironmentalResearch Institute, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand National Institute for Agricultural Research, UMR CentreAlpin de Recherche sur les Réseaux Trophiques des Ecosystèmes Limniques, Thonon-Les-Bains, France Lammi BiologicalStation, University of Helsinki, Lammi, Finland Large Lakes Observatory, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Duluth,Minnesota, USA Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit, LaurentianUniversity of Sudbury, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, Colorado StateUniversity, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA Water Research Centre, Environment Institute, School of Earth and EnvironmentalScience, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services, MarineInstitute, Furnace, Newport, Ireland Research Institute for Limnology, University of Innsbruck, Mondsee, Austria Environmental Research Institute, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand Florida Sea Grant and UF/IFAS,University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA International Institute for Sustainable Development-Experimental Lakes Area, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada NationalAeronautics and Space Administration, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California,USA Institute of Biology, Irkutsk State University, Irkutsk, Russia Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial ResearchOrganization Land and Water Flagship, Black Mountain, Canberra, Australia Institute of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tartu, Estonia Department of Experimental Limnology, Leibniz Institute ofFreshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany Ritsumeikan University, Kusatsu, Japan Finnish EnvironmentInstitute, Helsinki, Finland NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Department of Water Resources and Drinking Water, Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology),Dübendorf, Switzerland Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara,California, USA Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate, Midlothian, UK Bren School of Environmental Science andManagement, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA Department of Biology, University of Hamburg,Hamburg, Germany Hydrology Laboratory, Limnology Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, RussianFederation Centre for Limnology, Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of LifeSciences, Tartu, Estonia Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Geesthacht, Germany Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium Israel Oceanographic andLimnological Research, The Kinneret Limnological Laboratory, Migdal, Israel National Research Council Institute ofEcosystem Study, Verbania Pallanza, Italy Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Ontario Ministry of the Environment andClimate Change, Dorset, Ontario, Canada IASMA Research and Innovation Centre, Istituto Agrario di S. Michele all'Adige-Fondazione E. Mach, Trento, Italy Department of Natural Resources and Earth Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle,Washington, USA Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universityof California, Davis, California, USA Department of Surface Waters-Research and Management, Eawag (Swiss FederalInstitute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Kastanienbaum, Switzerland Department of Civil Engineering, Meliksah University,Kayseri, Turkey Department of Limnology and Biological Oceanography, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna,Austria National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Hamilton, New Zealand Department of Biology, University ofEastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland Seqwater, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia Department of Biology, Miami University, Oxford,Ohio, USA,57CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China


IAI Program


IAI Project CRN3038


• Lake surface waters are warming rapidly but are spatially heterogeneous

• Ice-covered lakes are typically warming at rates greater than air temperatures

• Both geomorphic and climate factorsinfluence lake warming rates


In this first worldwide synthesis of in situ and satellite‐derived lake data, we find that lake summer surface water temperatures rose rapidly (global mean = 0.34°C decade-1) between 1985 and 2009. Our analyses show that surface water warming rates are dependent on combinations of climate and local characteristics, rather than just lake location, leading to the counterintuitive result that regional consistency in lake warming is the exception, rather than the rule. The most rapidly warming lakes are widely geographically distributed, and their warming is associated with interactions among different climatic factors-from seasonally ice‐covered lakes in areas where temperature and solar radiation are increasing while cloud cover is diminishing (0.72°C decade-1) to ice‐free lakes experiencing increases in air temperature and solar radiation (0.53°C decade-1). The pervasive and rapid warming observed here signals the urgent need to incorporate climate impacts into vulnerability assessments and adaptation efforts for lakes.