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Water 2016, 8(6), 229; doi:10.3390/w8060229

Extreme Weather Events and Climate Variability Provide a Lens to How Shallow Lakes May Respond to Climate Change

1
Florida Sea Grant College Program, University of Florida, 803 McCarty Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
2
University of Florida Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, 7922 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, FL 32653, USA
3
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 3431 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557, USA
4
State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 73 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China
5
BSA Environmental Services, Inc., 23400 Mercantile Rd, Beachwood, OH 44122, USA
6
Department of Biology, Mahasarakham University, Mahasarakham 44150, Thailand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Erik Jeppesen and Martin Søndergaard
Received: 17 March 2016 / Revised: 19 May 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 28 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lake Restoration and Management in a Climate Change Perspective)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [3027 KB, uploaded 28 May 2016]   |  

Abstract

Shallow lakes, particularly those in low-lying areas of the subtropics, are highly vulnerable to changes in climate associated with global warming. Many of these lakes are in tropical cyclone strike zones and they experience high inter-seasonal and inter-annual variation in rainfall and runoff. Both of those factors strongly modulate sediment–water column interactions, which play a critical role in shallow lake nutrient cycling, water column irradiance characteristics and cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom (CyanoHAB) dynamics. We illustrate this with three examples, using long-term (15–25 years) datasets on water quality and plankton from three shallow lakes: Lakes Okeechobee and George (Florida, USA) and Lake Taihu (China). Okeechobee and Taihu have been impacted repeatedly by tropical cyclones that have resulted in large amounts of runoff and sediment resuspension, and resultant increases in dissolved nutrients in the water column. In both cases, when turbidity declined, major blooms of the toxic CyanoHAB Microcystis aeruginosa occurred over large areas of the lakes. In Lake George, periods of high rainfall resulted in high dissolved color, reduced irradiance, and increased water turnover rates which suppress blooms, whereas in dry periods with lower water color and water turnover rates there were dense cyanobacteria blooms. We identify a suite of factors which, from our experience, will determine how a particular shallow lake will respond to a future with global warming, flashier rainfall, prolonged droughts and stronger tropical cyclones. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; shallow lakes; tropical cyclones; sediment–water interactions; harmful cyanobacteria blooms climate change; shallow lakes; tropical cyclones; sediment–water interactions; harmful cyanobacteria blooms
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Havens, K.; Paerl, H.; Phlips, E.; Zhu, M.; Beaver, J.; Srifa, A. Extreme Weather Events and Climate Variability Provide a Lens to How Shallow Lakes May Respond to Climate Change. Water 2016, 8, 229.

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