Global Lake Warming Trend Threatens Freshwater Species


Holding over 80% of Earth’s surface freshwater, lakes support and sustain communities across the planet.

A new study uses satellite data to underline the vulnerability of these inland water bodies to climate change and warns of serious future consequences for many freshwater species worldwide.

Rising lake water temperatures, a consequence of climate change, strongly influences the distribution and abundance of freshwater species. A recent study, published in Nature Climate Change, estimates the rate of future global lake surface water temperature changes using the latest generation of climate projections from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and compares this to the ability of some species to disperse to cooler areas.

The authors calculated the speed at which lake habitats are warming and the distance species would need to migrate or shift their distribution over time to maintain a suitable thermal habitat. Often referred to as climate change velocity, this latter figure is used by scientists to help understand the impacts of climate change.

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