Geographic and temporal variations in turbulent heat loss from lakes: A global analysis across 45 lakes

Heat fluxes at the lake surface play an integral part in determining the energy budget and thermal structure in lakes, including regulating how lakes respond to climate change. We explore patterns in turbulent heat fluxes, which vary across temporal and spatial scales, using in situ high-frequency monitoring data from 45 globally distributed lakes. Our analysis demonstrates that some of the lakes studied follow a marked seasonal cycle in their turbulent surface fluxes and that turbulent heat loss is highest in larger lakes and those situated at low latitude. The Bowen ratio, which is the ratio of mean sensible to mean latent heat fluxes, is smaller at low latitudes and, in turn, the relative contribution of evaporative to total turbulent heat loss increases toward the tropics. Latent heat transfer ranged from 60%-90% of total turbulent heat loss in the examined lakes. The Bowen ratio ranged from 0.04 to 0.69 and correlated significantly with latitude. The relative contributions to total turbulent heat loss therefore differ among lakes, and these contributions are influenced greatly by lake location. Our findings have implications for understanding the role of lakes in the climate system, effects on the lake water balance, and temperature-dependent processes in lakes.