Trend analysis of weekly temperatures and oxygen concentrations during summer stratification in Lake Plußsee: A long-term study

Ralph Rösner, Dörthe C. Müller-Navarra and Eduardo Zorita

Limnol. Oceanogr., 57(5), 2012, 1479-1491 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2012.57.5.1479

ABSTRACT: Small dimictic Lake Plußsee in North Germany experienced major changes of the temperature and oxygen regime from 1969 to 2006, which reflected regional and large-scale changes in meteorological forcing. We used long-term weekly measurements of the lake's epilimnetic, metalimnetic, and hypolimnetic temperatures and dissolved oxygen concentrations and meteorological forcing variables to estimate long-term trends for each week. Except for large warming trends of air temperatures in the last week of April (0.14°C yr−1) and the first week of May (0.11°C yr−1), the extent of epilimnetic warming trends during the same time period (∼ 0.06–0.08°C yr−1) was also caused by a cumulative effect resulting from an earlier onset of stratification. Negative hypolimnetic temperature trends at the same time (∼ 0.01°C yr−1) also resulted from an earlier onset of stratification and increased water-column stability in spring. In summer and autumn, large increases in epilimnetic temperature and water-column stability were also affected by a shift of the timing of the yearly maxima of epilimnetic temperatures and water-column stability, which resulted in a later breakdown of stratification. This annual pattern of long-term trends of epilimnetic and hypolimnetic temperatures agrees with models driven by the expected increase of air temperatures due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Due to a prolonged stratification period, oxygen concentrations during the last weeks of the stratified period were lower, although oxygen concentrations in the water column increased within the first weeks of stratification.

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