Predicting summer surface water temperatures for large Austrian lakes in 2050 under climate change scenarios

  • Dokulil M
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Long-term data on surface water temperature (SWT) from 9 lakes larger
than 10 km(2) located in different climatic regions in Austria were
analysed for June-September 1965-2009. The lakes are situated north and
south of the Alps, in the east bordering Hungary and in the west
bordering Germany. Time series of air temperature (AT) and SWT were
smoothed by the lowess function and linear trends. Water temperature for
the year 2050 was estimated from (1) linear extrapolation of the time
trend, (2) projection of the AT-SWT relation and (3) increase of average
present day SWT (2000-2009) by 3A degrees C in summer in the Alps as
expected from models by climatologists. Results indicate a rise in SWT
parallel to AT since the mid-1960s. On an annual basis, changes in water
temperature were the greatest in spring and summer. A conservative
estimate of the average increase of summer SWT until 2050 is 2A degrees
C (1.2-2.9A degrees C), differentiated by region. As a consequence of
warming water temperatures, the duration of thermal stratification will
increase and mixing and retention time will be affected. Changes in the
food web are difficult to forecast, but will strongly depend on local
environmental conditions and will therefore be different for individual

Author-supplied keywords

  • Empirical model
  • Forecast
  • Global warming
  • Lake management
  • Tourism

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  • Martin T. Dokulil

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