Thursday, December 31, 2009

Warming Lakes

This information presents us with a conundrum of significance.  It begs questions and more data.  I have already noted that the surface of Lake Superior is also warmer.  Therefore we might make the conjecture that all lakes in the Northern Hemisphere have warmer surface water during the past two decades.

The obvious causation is increased solar radiation ably collected by surface waters.  Perhaps additional heat collected on land enters the drainage to super charge the lake itself.

This is also a good reminder of the heat capacity of water and its central role in managing the climate.

We know that the northern hemisphere is warmer the past two decades than previously.  We know that the Atlantic surface waters have strengthened at both ends.  The effect is been best expressed as warmer waters.

When we observe these effects it is difficult to discern the chain of cause and effect in a correct manner.  The first instinct is to assume the sun grew warmer somehow.  Yet if the heat absorption layer in water were to be altered in some manner (by velocity change) then its dwell time would be changed and temperature would change.  A change in algae populations should also impact temperatures.  So the observation of an increase in temperature reveals the limitations of our present modeling methods, if such even exist.

Once again the advice is to keep your powder dry and work on improving the models or even to create some.

NASA study: Lakes warming quickly

by Staff Writers

Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Dec 27, 2009 

New U.S. scientific findings suggest that climate change may be affecting aquatic environments faster and sooner than the atmosphere.

Researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., came to conclusions after noticing that Lake Tahoe, Clear Lake and four other big lakes in Northern California and Nevada are heating up faster than the surrounding atmosphere, The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday.

The newspaper said the researchers tapped satellite sensor temperature data compiled over 18 years in what is believed to be the first time that long-range lake surface temperatures have been dissected. What the data reportedly showed is that the lakes' water temperature rose two times faster, on average, than the regional air temperatures.

"It was a big surprise to see that," Philipp Schneider, the study's lead author and a post-doctoral research scientist at the NASA lab, told the Bee. "If it turns out they're actually changing faster than the air temperature, then there's a whole new phenomenon going on here. The lake ecosystems are going to be very much affected, especially because the trend we observed seems to be quite rapid."

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