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Climate Change’s Impacts on Lake Poopó, Bolivia: Reduced Area and Biodiversity – July 1st, 2013

18.7S 67W

July 1st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Lakes, Salt Flats VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Bolivia – June 28th, 2013

Visible high on the Bolivian altiplano are the green waters of Lake Poopó and the bright white surface of the Salar de Uyuni. Lake Poopó’s area has decreased by 50% in the last 25 years, with serious consequences for the populations of resident and migratory waterbirds.

The lake is located at approximately 3700 m above sea level, covering an approximate area of 967,000 ha, making it the second biggest lake in Bolivia, after Lake Titicaca (visible in the upper part of the full image), which is shared with Peru. However, in only 25 years its area has decreased by about 17,400 ha, representing almost 50% of its total area.

The decrease in the wetland’s area of open water has been attributed principally to climate change, which, in conjunction with current hydrological conditions (high rates of evaporation, low rainfall, and low flow rates of the rivers flowing into the lake), mean that water levels in the lake are not rising. This has had serious impacts on the biodiversity which depends on the wetland, given that the salinity has increased, thus decreasing survival rates of some species, with subsequent consequences in the local economy.

The change in size of the wetland has represented a considerable loss of available habitat for migratory bird species, for which the lake represents an important habitat, especially during the dry season (May to September), coinciding with the southern winter. However, drastic decreases in the populations of these species have been detected since 2007. Preliminary results suggest that the reason for this decline is the loss of available habitat as a result of the reduced area of Lake Poopó, and the accumulation of solid waste around the shores of the lake (click here for more information).

 

Correlation Between Climate Change and Tectonic Activity by Lake Rukwa, Tanzania

8S 32.4E

June 26th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISAqua

Tanzania – June 26th, 2013

Scientists have found a correlation between climatically induced lake level change in Lake Rukwa, seismo-tectonic activation of the regional fault network (underneath Lake Rukwa and the Kanda fault between Lakes Rukwa and Tanganyika) and the timing of the recent strong volcanic eruptions in the Rungwe Volcanic Province.

This relation is explained taking into account that Lake Rukwa is very sensitive to climate change as it occupies a flat depression and its overflow outlet is 180 m above its present-day level. Its lake level rises rapidly when the climate becomes more humid. Increases in lake level mean an increase in the load in the basin and perturbation of the ambient tectonic stresses (click here for more information).

Climate Change and Water Levels in Great Slave Lake, Canada

62.6N 110.5W

June 23rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISTerra

Canada – June 22nd, 2013

A wide array of climate change scenarios arise from global climate models, with a clear warming trend common to most of them. All lakes and reservoirs in Canada will be affected by climate change.

Models have shown that Canada’s large lakes, such as the Great Slave Lake, visible here, indicate that the over-lake meteorological conditions are conducive to increased annual lake evaporation. Under sunny conditions, the Great Slave Lake can increase its seasonal evaporation by 28% (click here for more information).

Climate Change’s Effect on Glaciers Around Lake Issyk Kul, Kazakhstan

40.6N 79.6E

June 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Deserts, Lakes VIIRSSuomi-NPP

Kazakhstan and China – June 21st, 2013

In the last 15 years, all of the 22 glaciers around Lake Issyk Kul (center, between Lake Balqash and the Taklamakan Desert), in Kazakhstan, have retreated. There are a number of reasons for the degradation of glaciation in Issyk Kul, but the increase in surface pollution and climate change are the main ones.

Both contribute to more intense melting and therefore degrade the mass balance of the glacier. The average yearly temperature in the glaciation zone has risen by 0.2ºC; summers are warmer by 0.6ºC, evidenced not only by melting rates but by a longer ablation period. This continued warming trend will accelerate glacial collapse and, most important, lead to a change in the water volume in the rivers the glaciers help to feed (click here for more information).

Impact Climate Change Will Have on New York State, USA

43.9N 77.2W

June 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 21st, 2013

Climate change in New York state may cause some initially positive effects for certain people, in general it is creating alarming issues. While the long-term outlook for grape-growers in the Finger Lakes region (lower right quadrant) is favorable, it is less than optimal for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts in the Adirondacks. Fir and spruce trees are expected to die out in the Catskills, and New York City’s backup drinking water supply may well be contaminated as a result of seawater making its way farther up the Hudson River.

These possibilities — modeled deep into this century — are detailed in a new assessment of the impact that climate change will have in New York State. If carbon emissions continue to increase at their current pace, ttemperatures are expected to rise across the state by 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the 2020s and by as much as 9 degrees by the 2080s.

That would have profound effects on agriculture across the state. For example, none of the varieties of apples currently grown in New York orchards would be viable. Dairy farms would be less productive as cows faced heat stress. And the state’s forests would be transformed; spruce-fir forests and alpine tundra would disappear as invasive species like kudzu, an aggressive weed, gained more ground.

If the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melt, as the report says could happen, the sea level could rise by as much as 55 inches, which means that beach communities would frequently be inundated by flooding. The effects of climate change would fall disproportionately on the poor and the disabled, since in coastal areas in New York City and along rivers in upstate New York there is a high amount of low-income housing that would be in the path of flooding (click here for more information).

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