Reviewing the effects of climate change on lakes with an eye toward the future.

By Benjamin M. Krämer

Research on the effects of climate change on lakes has burgeoned in recent years. Since 2015 in particular, there has been an exceptional growth in global-scale studies on the effects of climate change on lakes. But with this growth in the scientific literature, my colleagues and I found it increasingly difficult to keep on top of the latest developments in the field. So, we decided to address this acute need by formally summarizing the recent developments in our field by writing a review article.

Several collaborators and I got together in November 2019 for the annual Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) meeting in Muskoka, Canada. Led by Dr. Iestyn Woolway, we worked closely together on writing, discussing, and developing the manuscript. We identified the various key physical responses of lakes to climate change and each of us wrote sections of the manuscript in the area of our expertise. We endeavored to make the review paper not only authoritative but also accessible to those who are just learning about the topic.

This review paper writing effort was timed well with the launch of new journal that was a good venue for the review paper: Nature Reviews: Earth and Environment (NRE&E). After submitting the article to NRE&E and a constructive peer-review process, we worked with the editors to further refine the content and it was recently published in July of 2020. We found that climate-mediated changes in lake ice cover, temperature, mixing, evaporation, and water storage have widespread effects on lakes with numerous consequences for lake ecosystems and the benefits that humans derive from them. We also described how recent advances in satellite technologies and in situ monitoring will continue to improve our ability to detect the consequences of climate change for lakes in the future.

This collaboration leading to the publication of the review paper only began a year ago at the GLEON meeting 2019 which seems like such a distant past in the current COVID era. The collaboration was facilitated by the ability of many collaborators from across the world to meet in person and work closely together in the same place—something that would be impossible today. But, in LimnoScenES, we are working toward achieving that face-to-face energy in other ways as we adapt to the global pandemic. We are all looking forward to meeting in person with each other, with stakeholders, and with our collaborators once again, hopefully in the near future.