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Lakes are in hot water as climate change creates a cauldron of issues


Typical Nova Scotia recreational lake located near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Credit: Joshua Thienpont / Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario As intense heatwaves grip the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Portugal—at times exceeding temperatures of 40 C—as well as parts of North America and Asia, lakes around the world are feeling the heat from climate change, which is creating a cascade of ecological and environmental issues.

Northernmost lakes are considered the bellwethers of environmental change, but research shows consequences of climate change can affect any of the more than 100 million lakes in the world.

To get a cohesive picture of how climate change is threatening lakes, Reader R. Iestyn Woolway of Bangor University, Wales, Associate Professor Sapna Sharma of York University, and Distinguished University Professor John Smol of Queen’s University have reviewed and synthesized available studies on freshwater lakes from across the globe.

The research team found that the effects of climate change on lakes are often cumulative. Warmer water temperatures lead to changes in stratification regimes, declines in dissolved oxygen, a higher risk of cyanobacterial algal blooms , and a loss of habitat for native cold-water fish. It can affect not only water quality and quantity, but also cultural and recreational […]

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