According to a new study toxic algae will bloom in lakes all over the world during the next decades. According to Sapna Sharma, biologist at York U, co-author of the study, lakes are warming faster than the air and oceans.
Sharma says that lakes all over the world are warming at a rate of 0.34 Celsius (0.61 Fahrenheit) degrees on average. This constant warming of lake waters is threatening ecosystems and fresh water supplies.
Humanity depends on surface waters for drinking but also for the majority of our activities, from manufacturing to irrigation and energy production.
The study also predicts that toxic algae will bloom, increasing by 5 percent while the total algal blooms will reach about 20 percent by the end of the next century. Toxic algae can be poisonous to fish and other animals.
The algae can rob water of its oxygen and release methane, which is a greenhouse gas approximately 25 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. The percent of methane released by algae during the next decade will increase about 4 percent.
Sharma also warns that the ice-covered lakes are warming two times faster than air temperatures and the U.S. Great Lakes – Superior, Huron, Ontario and Michigan – are some of the fastest warming on the planet, with Lake Superior showing an increase in water temperatures about three times faster than average.
These findings are the result of 25 years of monitoring 236 lakes from many regions on the planet. Even if that might not sound much, those lakes contain over 50 percent of the world’s drinking water supply.
During the study, scientists combined data from manual measurements of thousands of scientists during the last century with data collected by NASA during the last 25 years, containing satellite measurements of lake water temperatures.
Simon Hook from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and co-author of the study claims that satellite measurements combined with ground data provide the most comprehensive image of the changing temperatures in lakes all over the world.
These changes are triggered by rising air temperature, combined to the melting of the ice cover much earlier and also more exposure to sunlight as a result of the lack of clouds.
The authors of the paper urge world leaders to make efforts for adding the lakes to the habitats in need of protection from the global warming and also to look at them as possible major contributors to the global worming if nothing is being done to stop the warming trend.
Image source: pixabay