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Warming of Irish Lake Is Sign of Global Trend, Say Marine Scientists

19th March 2015
Warming of Irish Lake Is Sign of Global Trend, Say Marine Scientists

#warmlkake – A lake in county Mayo is among a number of lakes around the world that are 'warming' and Irish Marine Scientists are part of a global research project examining the trend. 

Data for Lough Feeagh, situated in the Burrishoole catchment in Co. Mayoforms part of the data, and is one of a small number of lakes worldwide for which long-term temperature data are available.

A temperature recorder on Lough Feeagh was originally installed in 1960, when the Salmon Research Trust of Ireland began investigations into the movement of salmon, trout and eel through the catchment. 

The magnitude and uniformity of the worldwide trend remains unclear but to facilitate research on this topic, a global database of summer temperatures for 291 lakes from 1859-2009 has been compiled, complemented by data on local climatic drivers and lake geomorphology.

The paper describing lakes as sentinels of climate change is published in the Journal of Scientific Data, by Nature (http://www.nature.com/sdata/) on the 17th March 2015. Dr Elvira de Eyto, Marine Institute and co author on the paper along with Marine Institute scientists are part of the Global Lake Temperature Collaboration (GLTC), an international group assembled to provide increased access to global lake temperature records.

The GLTC project recognised that a new global database of lake surface temperatures was needed, including not only satellite data, but also "on the ground" measurements from in situ data collection programs. Since its
inception in 2010, the GLTC initiative has grown to a database of 291 lakes and reservoirs worldwide, providing summer-mean lake surface temperatures from 1985-2009, and roughly doubling the amount of data previously available from satellites alone. This new dataset represents the first publicly available global compilation of in situ and satellite-based lake surface temperature data. The GLTC database also provides information on climatic drivers (air temperature, solar radiation, cloud cover), as well as geomorphometric characteristics that may affect lake temperature (latitude, longitude, elevation, lake surface area, maximum depth, mean depth, volume).
This unique, global dataset will offer an invaluable baseline perspective on lake thermal conditions for ongoing and future studies of environmental change. The Marine Institute continues this work, and maintains an extensive environmental monitoring programme in the catchment which is used to record climate and land use changes that may impact fish stocks.

Published in Marine Science
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Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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