Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Impacts of climate change on lakes

Climate change will have different effects on lakes in warmer and colder regions of the globe.

This is the conclusion reached by Japanese and German researchers following studies of very deep caldera lakes in Japan. Scientists from Hokkaido University, the Hokkaido Institute of Environmental Sciences, Kagoshima University and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) compared current measurements with measurements taken 70 years ago.

This confirmed a rise in temperatures in the deep water layers of lakes in the south of Japan, while the deep water temperatures of lakes in the north remained the same. Rising temperatures can lead to changes in nutrient exchange and turnover in the water. In certain circumstances, winter circulation behaviour can be so severely affected by rising temperatures and other climatic factors that oxygen supplies to the lower depths become insufficient for many organisms, leading to an accumulation of nutrients in the deep water, say the researchers writing in Geophysical Research Letters.

Measurements from 2005 and 2007 in deep Japanese caldera lakes provide information about the distribution of dissolved nutrients in the water. There are two reasons why this chain of lakes makes an excellent research subject for providing general information about circulation under changeable climatic conditions that will be valid for lakes outside the research area. Firstly, the lakes cover a climate gradient that stretches from the south of Japan to the northern island of Hokkaido. Secondly, oxygen and nutrient exchange between the deep water and the surface in the lakes under investigation is controlled almost exclusively by temperature differences.

The researchers found that almost all of the lakes studied displayed a good distribution of the dissolved nutrients, despite their enormous depths of up to 423 metres (Lake Tazawa, Honshu). The lakes can be divided into two main depth-circulation categories based on their climatic conditions.

The researchers expect deep water temperatures of colder lakes (e.g. Lake Shikotsu, Hokkaido) to remain unchanged in warmer winters, provided the temperature rises are not excessive, while deep water temperatures in warmer lakes are likely to rise. This was confirmed by comparisons with single-point measurements from the 1930s. The scientists warn that a very steep rise in winter temperatures over the years results in water temperatures that do not fall anywhere near as low as the temperatures of the previous years and depth circulation can cease altogether (Lake Ikeda, Kyushu). In such circumstances oxygen supplies and nutrient distribution would be interrupted, which would have impacts on organisms.

Water quality in lakes is an important economic factor for tourism, water companies and fishing businesses. Together with colleagues in Australia, Canada and Spain, UFZ scientists are therefore working on numeric lake simulation models which are designed to provide predictions about water quality under altered conditions.

B., R. Fukuyama, and K. Chikita (2008), Stratification of very deep, thermally stratified lakes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L16405, doi:10.1029/2008GL034519.
The research was founded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).
Boehrer, B., and M. Schultze (2008), Stratification of lakes, Rev. Geophys., 46, RG2005, doi:10.1029/2006RG000210.

Dr Bertram Boehrer
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
Telephone: +49-391-810-9441
Prof. Kazuhisa CHIKITA
Laboratory of Physical Hydrology,
Faculty of Science,
Hokkaido University
Sapporo, JAPAN
Phone: +81-11-706-2764
Tilo Arnhold (UFZ press officer)
Telephone: +49-341-235-1269
of Lakes:
Stirred, not shaken
from: UFZ Magazine 12 (2006), page 37-39
At the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) scientists research the causes and consequences of far-reaching environmental changes. They study water resources, biological diversity, the consequences of climate change and adaptation possibilities, environmental and biotechnologies, bio energy, the behaviour of chemicals in the environment and their effect on health, as well as modelling and social science issues. Their guiding research principle is supporting the sustainable use of natural resources and helping to secure these basic requirements of life over the long term under the influence of global change. The UFZ employs 900 people at its sites in Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg. It is funded by the German government and by the states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

The Helmholtz Association helps solve major, pressing challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Transport and Space. With 25,700 employees in 15 research centres and an annual budget of around EUR 2.3 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

Tilo Arnhold | Helmholtz Centre
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>