Global warming affects nutrient upwelling in deep lakes

Measures to reduce lake phosphorus concentrations have been encouragingly successful in many parts of the world. After significant eutrophication in the twentieth century, nutrient concentrations have declined in many natural settings. In addition to these direct anthropogenic impacts, however, climate change is also altering various processes in lakes. Its effects on lacustrine nutrient budgets remain poorly understood. Here we investigate the total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in the epilimnion of the meromictic Lake Zug under present and future climatic conditions. Results are compared with those of other deep lakes. Data showed that TP transported from the hypolimnion by convective winter mixing was the most important source of TP for the epilimnion, reaching values more than ten times higher than the external input from the catchment. We found a logarithmic relationship between winter mixing depth (WMD) and epilimnetic TP content in spring. Warming climate affects WMD mainly due to its dependence on autumn stratification. Model simulations predict a reduction of average WMD from 78 (current) to 65 m in 2085 assuming IPCC scenario A2. Other scenarios show similar but smaller changes in the future. In scenario A2, climate change is predicted to reduce epilimnetic TP concentrations by up to 24% during warm winters and may consequently introduce significant year-to-year variability in primary productivity.


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Aquatic sciences, 81, 3, Article:50
Year:
Apr 29 2019
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First Online version.
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 Record created 2019-05-02, last modified 2019-05-06

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