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Lake Conservation Webinar Series: On thin ice: Are lakes feeling the heat?
Our planet is experiencing accelerated climate warming, with dramatic consequences not only on lake ecology but also on the ecosystem services we rely on from our freshwater resources. Lakes with seasonal ice cover, which represent more than half of the world’s lakes, are especially sensitive to a changing climate, as ice cover is a strong determinant of lake ecosystem functioning. Lakes are losing ice cover at unprecedented rates. On average, ice duration is shorter by 17 days per century. However, in the past 25 years, lake ice loss is 6 times faster, with some lakes not freezing every winter. By the end of the century, over 200,000 lakes may no longer regularly freeze and almost 6,000 lakes may permanently lose ice cover with climate warming. With reduced ice cover, lakes may stratify earlier which can lead to elevated water temperatures, primary production, and the likelihood of algal blooms, some of which may be toxic. Mitigation of greenhouse gases is essential to preserving this ecological, cultural, and economically important resource.

Apr 18, 2023 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Sapna Sharma
Associate Professor @Department of Biology, York University
Sapna Sharma is an associate professor in the Department of Biology and a York Research Chair in global change biology. She aims to understand how lakes worldwide respond to climate change, including rapid ice loss, warming water temperatures, degrading water quality, and changing fish distributions. She reinvigorated the field of winter limnology using large datasets and cutting-edge statistical analysis. She is the co-chair of the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on the Biology of Winter. In addition, Sapna is a dedicated science communicator, generating millions of media impressions by clearly conveying complex research and as founder of SEEDS, an outreach program for refugees.