Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Utah
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Zhang, Q., J. Jin, P. Budy, S.E. Null, and X. Wang. 2021. Predicting the response of Arctic lake thermal processes to a whole-lake warming manipulation. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL092680. USGS FSP IP-127181.


We investigated how lake thermal processes responded to whole-lake warming manipulation in a lake in the Alaskan Arctic through observations and numerical modeling. The warming manipulation was conducted by artificially heating the epilimnion as a proxy for climate warming. We performed numerical modeling and used an improved lake scheme based on the Community Land Model (CLM). We simulated a control run (CTL) without warming and a warming manipulation simulation (WARM). Results indicated the WARM simulation accurately captured observed lake temperature profiles where water stratification was extended in time, and water stability was strengthened. Two additional sensitivity tests with different warming onset dates and of the same warming duration showed that earlier onsets of warming are predicted to make the lake water column more stable and less easily mixed relative to a later onset of warming. The results of this study provide a more complete understanding of lake thermal processes in arctic freshwater lake systems and how they will respond to predicted future warming.