Lakes: The Sentinels of Climate Change, by Dr Iestyn Woolway
Public lecture, NERC Independent Research Fellow, School of Ocean Sciences.
A new large scale analysis of lake temperatures provides further evidence of some of the seasonal change. The research by Iestyn Woolway and published in Nature Communications, uses lake temperature data both historical and modelled to look at when typical sprint or autumn conditions occur in lakes worldwide, to show exactly how much seasons have shifted in different regions of the world and estimate how seasons will change in the future.
Since 1980, spring and summer temperatures in northern hemisphere lakes have arrived earlier (2.0 - 4.3 days earlier each decade respectively) whilst the arrival of autumn has been delayed (1.5 days per decade) and the summer season lengthened by (5.6 days per decade). This century, under a high-greenhouses-gas-emission scenario, spring and summer will arrive even earlier (3.3 and 8.3 days per decade, respectively), while autumn temperatures will arrive later (3.1 days per decade) and the summer season will lengthen further (12.1 days per decade).
While we may all welcome an early spring and a long warm summer, that reaction would be simplistic. The results could be catastrophic effects for the natural world. Within the lakes themselves, aquatic species respond to thermal cues triggered by the lake temperature. In a stable climate, seasonal events such as spawning will occur at the same time and coincide with other events which might provide a food source for example.
About the speaker
Dr Iestyn Woolway is a NERC Independent Research Fellow and Reader in the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University.
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Main Arts Building, Bangor University, LL57 2DG
Main Arts Building
Main Arts Lecture Theatre