The Decrease in Summer Surface Water Temperature with Altitude in Swiss Alpine Lakes: A Comparison with Air Temperature Lapse Rates

Livingstone, David M.; Lotter, André F.; Walker, Ian R. (1999). The Decrease in Summer Surface Water Temperature with Altitude in Swiss Alpine Lakes: A Comparison with Air Temperature Lapse Rates. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 31(4), pp. 341-352. Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder 10.2307/1552583

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Using miniature thermistors with integrated data loggers, the decrease in summer lake surface water temperature (LSWT) with increasing altitude a.s.l. was investigated in 10 Swiss Alpine lakes located between 613 m a.s.l. and 2339 m a.s.l. The LSWTs exhibit essentially the same short-term structure as regional air temperature, but are about 3 to 5°C higher than the air temperature at the altitude of the lake. LSWTs decrease approximately linearly with increasing altitude at a rate slightly greater than the surface air temperature lapse rate. Diel variations in LSWT are large, implying that single water temperature measurements are un- likely to be representative of the mean. Local factors will affect LSWT more than they affect air temperature, possibly resulting in severe distortion of the empirical relationship between the two. Several implications for paleoclimate reconstruction studies result. (1) Paleolimnologically reconstructed LSWTs are likely to be higher than the air temperatures prevailing at the altitude of the lake. (2) Lakes used for paleoclimate reconstruction should be selected to minimize local effects on LSWT. (3) The calibration of organism-specific quantitative paleotemperature inference models should not be based on single water temperature measurements. (4) Consideration should be given to calibrating such models directly against air temperature rather than water temperature. (5) The primary climate effect on the aquatic biota of high-altitude lakes may be mediated by the timing of the ice cover.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Lotter, André F.

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1523-0430

Publisher:

Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

02 Jun 2016 10:45

Last Modified:

02 Jun 2016 10:45

Publisher DOI:

10.2307/1552583

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.82638

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/82638

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