(Mirror Daily, United States) – Climate change is still a red alert worldwide, and researchers found that the temperature of lakes is rising faster than that of oceans or air itself. It seems that those particular bodies of water are taking the brunt of global warming. This could mean dire consequences for the ecosystem, and the population in turn.
Researchers were funded and aided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA for the purpose of measuring the rising temperature over the last three decades. The purpose was to understand how fast the change is happening and how severe the situation could become. It’s the first and largest study of its kind that used both hand measurements and satellite-provided data.
The team took into account the temperature of 225 lakes across the world, observing the changes between 1985 and 2009. This included popular bodies of water, such as Lake Tahoe, Lake Huron, Seattle’s Lake Washington, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, Lake Superior, two reservoirs from New York City, and the Dead Sea.
According to their findings, lakes have seen an increase of 0.61o Fahrenheit per decade. The situation was naturally worse for northern climates, where they warmed by 1.3o Fahrenheit per decade, which has led to worrying consequences. Ice covers are melting earlier than usual.
The temperature has been deemed as being the most basic factor that influences the ecosystem of every lake. It can affect the vegetation and the local fish population’s habits. This includes feeding, reproduction, and even their lifespan. It’s a critical matter that will ultimately affect both the balance in lakes worldwide, fish population, and humans in turn.
According to the researchers, this increase in temperatures will result in a bloom of algae by 20% in the next 100 years. The aquatic plants essentially rob the waters of oxygen, and are highly toxic to fish or other animals. If the situation continues as it is, the greenhouse gas emissions will rise by 4% in the next 10 years due to the algae population alone.
Lead author of the study and geology professor, Catherine O’Reilly, stated that their findings suggest that such major changes have already started happening. Lakes will have a lower productivity, which could mean severe consequences. For certain freshwater supplies, like the African Great Lakes, it could be especially harmful as they’re an important source of food for the population.
Stephanie Hampton from the Center for Environmental Research in Washington has stated that it’s just as important to monitor these changes in warm lakes, as it is in naturally colder bodies of water. Tropical lakes might not see such a dramatic increase, but it’s there nonetheless, and its affecting the ecosystem and the local population.
Image source: americandrivingvacations.com
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