US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Potential effects of global climate change on small north-temperate lakes: physics, fish, and plankton
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A 10-year record of the thermal characteristics of four lakes at the North-Temperate Lakes Long-Term Ecological Research site was analyzed and used to validate simulations of lake physics with the dynamic reservoir simulation model. Simulations of cool, warm, and intermediate years were rerun with meteorology from four general circulation models with a doubling of CO,. In all simulations with doubled COZ there is an earlier onset of stratification, increased summer epilimnetic temperature (l-7C), and an increased intensity and longer duration of stratification. Maximum surface temperatures at times may exceed upper lethal limits of warm and cool water fish in some scenarios. Suitable thermal habitat for cold water, cool water, and warm water fish generally increases in all scenarios after climate change. Changes in the vertical migration of Daphnia, however, are expected to vary depending on the interaction of thermal stratification and fish habitat use. In northern Wisconsin lakes with cold water planktivores, habitat overlap between fish and zooplankton is expected to decrease, while in southern Wisconsin lakes habitat overlap is expected to increase. Although most physical responses of lakes to climate change are consistent among all climate scenarios, biological responses will likely be more variable owing to the complex nature of factors determining ecological interactions in lakes.