A new study led by Bangor University reports that the world’s largest lakes are experiencing six times more intense heat waves than they were two decades ago. The analysis indicates that 94% of these waves are attributable to human activities.
The new study is one of the first to estimate how climate change results greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)affects lake heat waves and how it behaves in the face of a warmer world.
Globally, extreme heat waves are three times more likely to occur in lakes in a 1.5°C warmer and up to 25 times in a 3.5°C warming scenario, compared to the average temperature before the Industrial Revolution.
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In addition, the research estimated that 94% of heat waves in the past decades are associated with human activities. “Most of the intense lake heat waves we analyzed had a significant human impact,” said Eastin Woolway, lead author of the study.
Extreme heat in the lakes
For the analysis, the team of scientists used data from Surface temperature obtained by satellite European Space Agency (ESA). Of the 1,000 lakes, only 78 were large enough to report temperatures at various points, with data spanning from 1995 to 2019.
In that list were the largest lakes in the world, such as Lake Baikal, Lake Victoria, and Lake Erie. The team then applied the information to climate models to predict how climate change will affect heat waves over the next century.
For Woolway, the only way to deal with this is to Reducing global warming. “If temperatures continue to rise, the lake heat waves will gradually get worse,” he added.
The European Space Agency’s Climate Initiative has provided comprehensive records on global climate, in addition to supporting climate science, to inform effective measures to address the negative impacts of global climate change.
The research was presented in the scientific period Geophysical Research Letters.
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