US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
The influence of landscape position on lake chemical responses to drought in northern Wisconsin
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Climatic shifts to drier conditions during drought alter the hydrologic pathways of water and solute flow to aquatic ecosystems. We examined differences in drought-induced trends in the semiconservative cations, Ca + Mg, in seven northern Wisconsin lakes. These spanned the range of hydrologic settings in the region, including hydraulically mounded, groundwater flowthrough, and groundwater-discharge lakes. Parallel increases in concentration across the seven lakes during drought were attributable to evapoconcentration. However, we observed divergent trends for mass, which better reflects altered solute flux by accounting for changes in lake volume. Ca + Mg mass increased in three groundwater-dominated lakes as precipitation inputs were low and groundwater discharging from longer flowpaths became proportionately more important. In contrast, decreases in Ca + Mg mass for two precipitation-dominated lakes reflected diminished inputs of solute-rich groundwater. Landscape position, defined by the spatial position of a lake within a hydrologic flow system, accounted for the divergence in chemical responses to drought.