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Six Decades of Thermal Change in a Pristine Lake Situated North of the Arctic Circle
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  • Roohollah Noori,
  • R. Iestyn Woolway,
  • Markus Saari,
  • Pulkkanen Merja,
  • Bjørn Kløve
Roohollah Noori
Iran University of Science and Technology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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R. Iestyn Woolway
University of Reading
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Markus Saari
University of Oulu
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Pulkkanen Merja
Finnish Environment Institute
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Bjørn Kløve
University of Oulu
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The majority of lake temperature studies have investigated climate-induced changes occurring at the lake surface, primarily by analyzing detailed satellite images of surface water temperature. Whilst essential to observe long-term change, satellite images do not provide information on the thermal environment at depth, thus limiting our understanding of lake thermal responses to a warming world. Long-term in-situ observational data can fill some of the information gap, with depth-resolved field measurements providing a detailed view of thermal change throughout the water column. However, previous studies that have investigated multi-decadal changes in lake temperature, both at the surface and at depth, have typically focused on north temperate lakes. Relatively few studies have investigated temperature variations in lakes situated north of the Arctic circle, which is one of the most rapidly warming regions globally. Here, using a sixty-year (1961-2020) observational dataset of summer water temperature from Lake Inari (Finland), we investigate changes in the thermal environment of this pristine lake. Our analysis suggests a significant summer warming trend at the lake surface (+0.247 °C decade-1) and a marginal cooling trend (–0.027 °C decade-1) at depth. The contrasting thermal response of surface and bottom water temperatures to climatic warming has likewise resulted in a strengthening of summer stratification in this high latitude lake. Implications of the observed change in both temperature and stratification on the lake ecosystem will likely be extensive, including impacts on aquatic organisms in which this lake supports. Our work builds on ever-growing literature regarding lake thermal responses to climate change.
Sep 2022Published in Water Resources Research volume 58 issue 9. 10.1029/2021WR031543