Climate warming affects entire lakes

Oct 18, 2005

Canadian scientists in a University of Alberta study indicate global warming is producing major ecological changes in remote arctic lakes at an alarming rate.

The research is said to be the first to demonstrate a whole lake biological response to warming in the arctic.

Neal Michelutti, a post-doctoral science fellow, said even in the most remote, pristine parts of the Earth -- far from the direct influence of human activities -- changes are occurring in entire ecosystems.

He and his research team used a technique called reflectance spectroscopy to allow them to "see" in wavelengths that the human eye cannot -- the chemical composition of the sediment in six lakes on Baffin Island.

They found major increases in chlorophyll-a concentrations, a good indicator of overall ecosystem production.

What alarms the researchers is the magnitude and timing of the changes. "For the last several thousand years, chlorophyll-a concentrations in our study lakes were very low and showed little variability, until approximately 150 years ago when chlorophyll-a increased rapidly and reached unprecedented levels. The timing of these changes corresponds to the start of the Industrial Revolution," said Michelutti.

The research appears in the current issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: SpaceX ship leaves ISS for Earth loaded with lab results

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Comet Siding Spring whizzes past Mars (Update)

20 hours ago

A comet the size of a small mountain and about as solid as a pile of talcum powder whizzed past Mars on Sunday, dazzling space enthusiasts with the once-in-a-million-years encounter.

Secrets of dinosaur ecology found in fragile amber

2 hours ago

Ryan McKellar's research sounds like it was plucked from Jurassic Park: he studies pieces of amber found buried with dinosaur skeletons. But rather than re-creating dinosaurs, McKellar uses the tiny pieces ...

Heavy metal frost? A new look at a Venusian mystery

2 hours ago

Venus is hiding something beneath its brilliant shroud of clouds: a first order mystery about the planet that researchers may be a little closer to solving because of a new re-analysis of twenty-year-old ...

Recommended for you

Hinode satellite captures X-ray footage of solar eclipse

Oct 24, 2014

The moon passed between the Earth and the sun on Thursday, Oct. 23. While avid stargazers in North America looked up to watch the spectacle, the best vantage point was several hundred miles above the North ...

User comments : 0