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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Consecutive Extreme Weather Events on a Temperate Dystrophic Lake: A Detailed Insight into Physical, Chemical and Biological Responses

1
Dundalk Institute of Technology, Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies, Dundalk, Marshes Upper, Co. Louth A91 K584, Ireland
2
Marine Institute, Furnace, Newport, Co. Mayo F28 PF65, Ireland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(5), 1411; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051411
Received: 21 April 2020 / Revised: 8 May 2020 / Accepted: 13 May 2020 / Published: 15 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Extreme Climate Events on Lake Ecosystems)
Between May and July 2018, Ireland experienced an exceptional heat wave, which broke long-term temperature and drought records. These calm, stable conditions were abruptly interrupted by a second extreme weather event, Atlantic Storm Hector, in late June. Using high-frequency monitoring data, coupled with fortnightly biological sampling, we show that the storm directly affected the stratification pattern of Lough Feeagh, resulting in an intense mixing event. The lake restabilised quickly after the storm as the heatwave continued. During the storm there was a three-fold reduction in Schmidt stability, with a mixed layer deepening of 9.5 m coinciding with a two-fold reduction in chlorophyll a but a three-fold increase in total zooplankton biomass. Epilimnetic respiration increased and net ecosystem productivity decreased. The ratio of total nitrogen:total phosphorus from in-lake versus inflow rivers was decoupled, leading to a cascade effect on higher trophic levels. A step change in nitrogen:phosphorus imbalances suggested that the zooplankton community shifted from phosphorus to nitrogen nutrient constraints. Such characterisations of both lake thermal and ecological responses to extreme weather events are relatively rare but are crucial to our understanding of how lakes are changing as the impacts of global climate change accelerate. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat waves; summer storms; mixed layer deepening; nutrient imbalances; dystrophic lakes heat waves; summer storms; mixed layer deepening; nutrient imbalances; dystrophic lakes
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Calderó-Pascual, M.; de Eyto, E.; Jennings, E.; Dillane, M.; Andersen, M.R.; Kelly, S.; Wilson, H.L.; McCarthy, V. Effects of Consecutive Extreme Weather Events on a Temperate Dystrophic Lake: A Detailed Insight into Physical, Chemical and Biological Responses. Water 2020, 12, 1411.

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