Lake surface temperatures in a changing climate: a global sensitivity analysis

Schmid, Martin; Hunziker, Stefan; Wüest, Alfred (2014). Lake surface temperatures in a changing climate: a global sensitivity analysis. Climatic change, 124(1-2), pp. 301-315. Springer 10.1007/s10584-014-1087-2

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We estimate the effects of climatic changes, as predicted by six climate models, on lake surface temperatures on a global scale, using the lake surface equilibrium temperature as a proxy. We evaluate interactions between different forcing variables, the sensitivity of lake surface temperatures to these variables, as well as differences between climate zones. Lake surface equilibrium temperatures are predicted to increase by 70 to 85 % of the increase in air temperatures. On average, air temperature is the main driver for changes in lake surface temperatures, and its effect is reduced by ~10 % by changes in other meteorological variables. However, the contribution of these other variables to the variance is ~40 % of that of air temperature, and their effects can be important at specific locations. The warming increases the importance of longwave radiation and evaporation for the lake surface heat balance compared to shortwave radiation and convective heat fluxes. We discuss the consequences of our findings for the design and evaluation of different types of studies on climate change effects on lakes.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Climatology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Hunziker, Stefan


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History > 910 Geography & travel








Monika Wälti-Stampfli

Date Deposited:

09 Oct 2014 14:18

Last Modified:

19 Oct 2015 09:55

Publisher DOI:





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