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


Catherine O'Reilly

Sapna Sharma

Derek Gray

Stephanie Hampton

Jordan Read

Rex Rowley

Philipp Schneider

John Lenters

Peter McIntyre

Benjamin Kraemer

Gesa Weyhenmeyer

Dietmar Straile

Bo Dong

Rita Adrian

Mathew Allan

Orlane Anneville

Lauri Arvola

Jay Austin

John Bailey

Jill Baron

Justin Brookes

Elvira de Eyto

Martin Dokulil

David Hamilton

Karl Havens

Amy Hetherington

Scott Higgins

Simon Hook

Lyubov Izmest'eva

Klaus Joehnk

Kulli Kangur

Peter Kasprzak

Michio Kumagai

Esko Kuusisto

George Leshkevich

David Livingstone

Sally MacIntyre

Linda May

John Melack

Doerthe Mueller-Navarra

Mikhail Naumenko

Peeter Noges

Tiina Noges

Ryan North

Pierre-Denis Plisnier

Anna Rigosi

Alon Rimmer

Michela Rogora

Lars Rudstam

James Rusak

Nico Salmaso

Nihar Samal

Daniel Schindler

Geoffrey Schladow

Martin Schmid

Silke Schmidt

Eugene Silow

Evren Soylu

Katrin Teubner

Piet Verburg

Ari Voutilainen

Andrew Watkinson

Craig Williamson

Guoqing Zhang

+59 more
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Secondary Title:
Geophysical Research Letters


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\textdegreeC 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\textdegreeC decade-1) to ice-free lakes experiencing increases in air temperature and solar radiation (0.53\textdegreeC 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.