Diel Surface Temperature Range Scales with Lake Size

TitleDiel Surface Temperature Range Scales with Lake Size
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsR. Woolway I, Jones ID, Maberly SC, French JR, Livingstone DM, Monteith DT, Simpson GL, Thackeray SJ, Andersen MR, Battarbee RW, DeGasperi CL, Evans CD, de Eyto E, Feuchtmayr H, Hamilton DP, Kernan M, Krokowski J, Rimmer A, Rose KC, Rusak JA, Ryves DB, Scott DR, Shilland EM, Smyth RL, Staehr PA, Thomas R, Waldron S, Weyhenmeyer GA
JournalPLoS ONE
Date Published03/2016

Ecological and biogeochemical processes in lakes are strongly dependent upon water temperature. Long-term surface warming of many lakes is unequivocal, but little is known about the comparative magnitude of temperature variation at diel timescales, due to a lack of appropriately resolved data. Here we quantify the pattern and magnitude of diel temperature variability of surface waters using high-frequency data from 100 lakes. We show that the near-surface diel temperature range can be substantial in summer relative to long-term change and, for lakes smaller than 3 km2, increases sharply and predictably with decreasing lake area. Most small lakes included in this study experience average summer diel ranges in their near-surface temperatures of between 4 and 7°C. Large diel temperature fluctuations in the majority of lakes undoubtedly influence their structure, function and role in biogeochemical cycles, but the full implications remain largely unexplored.

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