Climate change impacts on surface heat fluxes in a deep monomictic lake

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Ana I. Ayala , Jorrit P. Mesman, Ian D. Jones, Elvira de Eyto , Eleanor Jennings, Stéphane Goyette , Don C. Pierson 


Turbulent and radiative energy exchanges between lakes and the atmosphere play an important role in determining the process of lake-mixing and stratification, including how lakes respond to climate and to climate change. Here we use a one-dimensional hydrodynamic lake model to assess seasonal impacts of climate change on individual surface heat flux components in Lough Feeagh, Ireland, a deep, monomictic lake. We drive the lake model with an ensemble of outputs from four climate models under three future greenhouse gas scenarios from 1976 to 2099. In these experiments, the results showed significant increases in the radiative budget that were largely counteracted by significant increases in the turbulent fluxes. The combined change in the individual surface heat fluxes led to a change in the total surface heat flux that was small, but sufficient to lead to significant changes in the volume-weighted average lake. The largest change in total surface heat fluxes were in spring and autumn. Both spring heating and autumnal cooling significantly decreased under future climate conditions, while changes to total surface heat fluxes in winter and summer were an order of magnitude lower. This leads to the counter-intuitive results that in a warming world there will be less heat, not more, entering Lough Feeagh during the springtime, and little change in net heating over the summer or winter compared to natural climate, so that increases in the volume-weighted average lake temperature are largely due to reduced heat loss during autumn.



Life Sciences


Surface heat fluxes, Lake modelling, climate change, Lough Feeagh


Published: 2022-12-08 16:24

Last Updated: 2022-12-08 16:24


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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