The Warming of Canadian Lakes

It is an established fact that our lakes are getting warmer and the number of days of ice cover are getting shorter. And given all this crazy hot weather this year, climate change is a hot topic, even in the winter.

A recent article in the Globe and Mail

begins with:

“Canadian lakes are in hot water over climate change, a new research survey has concluded.

“Canadian lakes are warming twice as fast as the rest of the lakes globally,” said York University biologist Sapna Sharma, a co-author of a paper published in the journal Bioscience.

Sharma and her colleagues pored over 143 studies from around the world to try to summarize how climate change is affecting the globe’s 100 million lakes.

Lakes that have been ice-covered at least part of the year are experiencing the biggest changes, they found.

Warming air temperatures have reduced ice cover an average of 31 days over the past 165 years, with ice cover disappearing six times faster in the past 25 years. About 15,000 Northern Hemisphere lakes that once froze every winter are now experiencing ice-free years and 6,000 of those lakes may never freeze again.

Water temperatures are rising as they absorb more sunlight, with the upper layers of lakes warming up even more quickly.

Lakes around the world are already warming by a third of a degree Celsius per decade, with ice-covered lakes warming twice as fast as the global average. By the end of the century, average global lake temperatures are expected to rise anywhere from one degree, to 4.

That increases water loss from evaporation and encourages blooms of toxic algae.

“In Canada, as well as other places in the world, we’re seeing increased incidence of these algal blooms much later in the season,” Ms. Sharma said.

Lake Superior, the world’s largest lake by surface area, now experiences algae blooms. In 2014, a secluded lake in Ontario’s Algonquin Park was closed to camping because of algal blooms – the first such bloom in more than a century.

To read the academic article related to the above news clip, see

The 2022 CLPOA yearbook p. 54 has an article on the decreasing ice cover at Chandos Lake, Over the last 35 years or so, on a trend line basis, the ice cover on Chandos has decreased by about 11 days. A pre-print of this article can be found here

One thought on “The Warming of Canadian Lakes

  1. Thanks Geoff,Interesting (but troubling) article.But, as you have already demonstrated, we are seeing that trend here at Chandos.Gord Morwood

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