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Climate Sentinels Working Group


The focus of this working group is on exploring the use of lakes as sensors in the landscape in order to interpret and quantify what their sentinel responses are telling us about the ecological consequences of climate change.

buoy deployment Beartooth Mountains It has long been widely recognized that lakes respond to a variety of environmental changes in complex and interactive ways, and this goal is very close to the heart of GLEON. But there has been no attempt to systematically interpret these signals across lakes of the world. This working group intends to sharpen these tools in a way that better distinguishes which sentinel responses are most useful in understanding the impacts of temperature and precipitation components of climate change in a way that allows intercomparison of lakes as sensors around the world. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) quality and quantity are of particular interest, but all sentinel responses and their ecological consequences are of interest here. Are green, brown, or blue lakes better sentinels? Do man-made impoundments give similar sentinel responses to those of more natural lakes? Are certain sentinel responses better for interpreting the response of ecosystems to changes in temperature and others better for quantifying responses to changes in precipitation? Can climate signals be clearly separated out from other natural and anthropogenic environmental change? These are just a few of the important questions that need to be addressed in order to decipher the signals that lakes are giving us as sensors in the landscape on both neo-ecological and paleo-ecological time scales.


Discussion Forum: Climate Sentinels (login required)

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