Lake Research Highlights

Lake heatwaves increase due to climate change

Lake heatwaves Historical and future projections of global lake heatwave strength for three different greenhouse gas emission scenarios: a is RCP 2.6, b is RCP 6.0 and c is RCP 8.5. Periods of exceptionally high surface water temperature in lakes, known as lake heatwaves, will increase in intensity and duration by the end of the 21st century, according to a study in the journal Nature by an international team of scientists. This may threaten biodiversity and push lake ecosystems to their limits. By analyzing satellite data and modelling scenarios of climate warming, the study suggested that the average intensity of lake heatwaves would increase from the current value of 3.7 °C to 4.0 °C by the end of the century under a mild climate warming scenario (RCP 2.6), or to 5.4 °C under a strong climate warming scenario (RCP 8.5). The average duration would increase from the current value of about a week to a month in the mild warming scenario, but more than three months in the strong warming scenario. About 40% of lakes may experience a permanent (year-round) heatwave state under strong warming in the coming decades.

Reservoir in the Harz region at risk of reaching Italian water temperatures

The Rappbode Reservoir in the Harz region is Germany’s largest drinking water reservoir, supplying around one million people with drinking water in areas including the Halle region and the southern part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Water temperatures in the reservoir now have the potential to increase significantly due to climate change. If average global warming reaches between 4 and 6 degrees by the year 2100, as the current trend suggests, temperature conditions in the Rappbode Reservoir will become comparable to those in Lake Garda and other lakes south of the Alps. In an article in Science of the Total Environment magazine, a team of researchers led by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) writes that the reservoir’s operators could partially offset the impacts this will have on the drinking water supply - to do so, they would have to change the way the reservoir is managed. Further information you find here.

biofilms sink plastics

Mikroplastik bedeckt von mikrobiellem Biofilm During Summer 2019 we elucidated the role of microbial biofilm formation on the sedimentation of microplastics in the eutrophic Bautzen reservoir. We could show that buoyancy loss of microplastics was facilitated by calcium carbonate formation within attached biofilms. For further details we kindly refer to our most recent publication "Interaction of cyanobacteria with calcium facilitates the sedimentation of microplastics in a eutrophic reservoir" published in Water Research.

CO2 emissions from dry inland waters globally underestimated

Study fills the gap between regional and global data

dry sediment Inland waters such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Calculations that scale up the carbon dioxide emissions from land and water surface areas do not take account of inland waters that dry out intermittently. This means that the actual emissions from inland waters have been significantly underestimated - as shown by the results of a recent international research project led by scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Magdeburg and the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA). The study was published in Nature Communications. Further information you find here.