Deeper waters are changing less consistently than surface waters in a global analysis of 102 lakes

Rachel M. Pilla, Craig E. Williamson, Boris V. Adamovich, Rita Adrian, Orlane Anneville, Sudeep Chandra, William Colom-Montero, Shawn P. Devlin, Margaret A. Dix, Martin T. Dokulil, Evelyn E. Gaiser, Scott F. Girdner, K. David Hambright, David P. Hamilton, Karl Havens, Dag O. Hessen, Scott N. Higgins, Timo H. Huttula, Hannu Huuskonen, Peter D.F. IslesKlaus D. Joehnk, Ian D. Jones, Wendel Bill Keller, Lesley B. Knoll, Johanna Korhonen, Benjamin M. Kraemer, Peter R. Leavitt, Fabio Lepori, Martin S. Luger, Stephen C. Maberly, John M. Melack, Stephanie J. Melles, Dörthe C. Müller-Navarra, Don C. Pierson, Helen V. Pislegina, Pierre Denis Plisnier, David C. Richardson, Alon Rimmer, Michela Rogora, James A. Rusak, Steven Sadro, Nico Salmaso, Jasmine E. Saros, Émilie Saulnier-Talbot, Daniel E. Schindler, Martin Schmid, Svetlana V. Shimaraeva, Eugene A. Silow, Lewis M. Sitoki, Ruben Sommaruga, Dietmar Straile, Kristin E. Strock, Wim Thiery, Maxim A. Timofeyev, Piet Verburg, Rolf D. Vinebrooke, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, Egor Zadereev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Globally, lake surface water temperatures have warmed rapidly relative to air temperatures, but changes in deepwater temperatures and vertical thermal structure are still largely unknown. We have compiled the most comprehensive data set to date of long-term (1970–2009) summertime vertical temperature profiles in lakes across the world to examine trends and drivers of whole-lake vertical thermal structure. We found significant increases in surface water temperatures across lakes at an average rate of + 0.37 °C decade−1, comparable to changes reported previously for other lakes, and similarly consistent trends of increasing water column stability (+ 0.08 kg m−3 decade−1). In contrast, however, deepwater temperature trends showed little change on average (+ 0.06 °C decade−1), but had high variability across lakes, with trends in individual lakes ranging from − 0.68 °C decade−1 to + 0.65 °C decade−1. The variability in deepwater temperature trends was not explained by trends in either surface water temperatures or thermal stability within lakes, and only 8.4% was explained by lake thermal region or local lake characteristics in a random forest analysis. These findings suggest that external drivers beyond our tested lake characteristics are important in explaining long-term trends in thermal structure, such as local to regional climate patterns or additional external anthropogenic influences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20514
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Deeper waters are changing less consistently than surface waters in a global analysis of 102 lakes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this