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Earth's Lakes are Warming

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In the first comprehensive global survey of temperature trends in major lakes, NASA researchers determined Earth's larger lakes have warmed during the past 25 years in response to climate change.

NASA scientists used satellite data to measure the surface temperature of 167 worldwide lakes. They reported an average warming rate of 0.81 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, with some lakes warming as much as 1.8 degrees. The warming trend was global, with the greatest increases in the mid- to high-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

The analysis provides a new, independent data source for assessing the impact of climate change over land around the world. The results have major implications for lake ecosystems, which can be adversely affected by even small water temperature changes. Small change in water temperatures can result in algae blooms that can make a lake toxic or result in the introduction of non-native species that change the lake's natural ecosystem.

The largest and most consistent area of warming was northern Europe. The warming trend was slightly weaker in southeastern Europe around the Black and Caspian Seas. The trends increased slightly farther east in Siberia, Mongolia and northern China.

In North America, trends were slightly higher in the southwest United States than in the Great Lakes region. Warming was weaker in the Tropics and in the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere.

The results were consistent with the expected changes associated with global warming.

Source: Water Link International

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