A largest study of its kind led by an Indian-origin researcher reveals that climate change is warming lakes around the world at an alarming rate, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems.
For the study spanning six continents, a total of 236 lakes, representing more than half of the world's freshwater supply, were monitored for at least 25 years.
"We found that lakes are warming at an average of 0.34 degrees Celsius each decade all around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems," said study lead author Sapna Sharma from York University in Toronto, Canada.
Algal blooms that are toxic to fish and animals would increase by five percent. These rates also imply that emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, will increase four percent over the next decade.
"We found that ice-covered lakes, including Canadian lakes, are warming twice as fast as air temperatures and the North American Great Lakes are among the fastest warming lakes in the world," Sharma noted.
It is also the first to combine manual lake measurements - made by thousands of scientists over more than a century - with satellite measurements of lake temperatures collected by NASA over a quarter century, the researchers said. The study results, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, were announced at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, US.