14 Dec 2021
14 Dec 2021
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Chlorophyll-a growth rates and related environmental variables in global temperate and cold-temperate lakes

Hannah Adams1, Jane Ye1, Bhaleka Persaud1, Stephanie Slowinski1, Homa Kheyrollah Pour2, and Philippe Van Cappellen1 Hannah Adams et al.
  • 1Ecohydrology Research Group, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Water Institute, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada
  • 2ReSEC Research Group, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON, Canada

Abstract. Lakes are key ecosystems within the global biogeosphere. However, the bottom-up controls on the biological productivity of lakes, including surface temperature, ice phenology, nutrient loads and mixing regime, are increasingly altered by climate warming and land-use changes. To better understand the environmental drivers of lake productivity, we assembled a dataset on chlorophyll-a concentrations, as well as associated water quality parameters and surface solar irradiance, for temperate and cold-temperate lakes experiencing seasonal ice cover. We developed a method to identify periods of rapid algal growth from in situ chlorophyll-a time series data and applied it to measurements performed between 1964 and 2019 across 357 lakes, predominantly located north of 40°. Long-term trends show that the algal growth windows have been occurring earlier in the year, thus potentially extending the growing season and increasing the annual productivity of northern lakes. The dataset is also used to analyze the relationship between chlorophyll-a growth rates and solar irradiance. Lakes of higher trophic status exhibit a higher sensitivity to solar radiation, especially at moderate irradiance values during spring. The lower sensitivity of chlorophyll-a growth rates to solar irradiance in oligotrophic lakes likely reflects the dominant role of nutrient limitation. Chlorophyll-a growth rates are significantly influenced by light availability in spring but not in summer and fall, consistent with a switch to top-down control of summer and fall algal communities. The growth window dataset can be used to analyze trends in lake productivity across the northern hemisphere or at smaller, regional scales. We present some general trends in the data and encourage other researchers to use the open dataset for their own research questions.

Hannah Adams et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2021-329', Anonymous Referee #1, 31 Jan 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2021-329', Anonymous Referee #2, 08 Feb 2022

Hannah Adams et al.

Data sets

Chlorophyll-a growth rates and related environmental variables in temperate and cold-temperate lakes Adams, H.

Model code and software

hfadams/growth_window: Initial Zenodo Release (v1.0) hfadams

Hannah Adams et al.


Total article views: 886 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
644 216 26 886 17 17
  • HTML: 644
  • PDF: 216
  • XML: 26
  • Total: 886
  • BibTeX: 17
  • EndNote: 17
Views and downloads (calculated since 14 Dec 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 14 Dec 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 825 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 825 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 28 Sep 2022
Short summary
Climate warming and land-use changes are altering the environmental factors that control the algal “productivity” in lakes. To predict how environmental factors like nutrient concentrations, ice cover, and water temperature will continue to influence lake productivity in this changing climate, we created a dataset of chlorophyll-a concentrations (a compound found in algae), associated water quality parameters, and solar radiation that can be used to for a wide range of research questions.