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Scientific article
English

Global warming will change the thermal structure of Lough Feeagh, a sentinel lake in the Irish landscape, by the end of the twenty-first century

Published inBiology and environment, vol. 123B, no. 3, p. 145-163
Publication date2023
Abstract

Recent developments in impact modelling of global warming on lakes have resulted in a greater understanding of how these vital ecosystems are likely to respond. However, there has been little quantitative analysis of this in an Irish context, despite the importance of lakes in the island's landscape. Here, we explore the impact of global warming on the hydrodynamics and thermal structure of a sentinel Irish lake under future climate scenarios. A 1D lake model, Simstrat, was calibrated and validated using water temperature data collected from Lough Feeagh, a site of long-term ecological research in the west of Ireland. Once validated, the model was then driven by daily climate model projections to generate informative thermal metrics for the time period of 2006–2099. Despite the moderating influence of the Atlantic, projections indicate that global warming will have a marked effect on the thermal structure of Feeagh, with surface water temperatures set to warm by 0.75°C under a more stringent mitigation pathway (RCP 2.6) and 2.42°C under a non-mitigation pathway (RCP 8.5). While warming was projected to be greatest in summer in the epilimnion, winter warming was greater than in other seasons in the hypolimnion. Stratification is projected to become more stable and earlier, and the growing season to be longer by 11 to 47 days, depending on mitigation pathways. Future studies could use a similar modelling workflow to investigate the possible implications of global warming on other Irish lakes, particularly those of specific societal importance or those of conservation interest.

eng
Keywords
  • Climate
  • Lake
  • Modelling
  • Climate change
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
AYALA, Ana I. et al. Global warming will change the thermal structure of Lough Feeagh, a sentinel lake in the Irish landscape, by the end of the twenty-first century. In: Biology and environment, 2023, vol. 123B, n° 3, p. 145–163. doi: 10.1353/bae.2023.a916008
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ISSN of the journal0791-7945
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