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Effects of a 2 x CO2 climate on two large lake systems: Pyramid Lake, Nevada, and Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming

November 25, 1995

The possible effects of trace-gas induced climatic changes on Pyramid and Yellowstone Lakes are assessed using a model of lake temperature. The model is driven by 312">312 years of hourly meteorological data obtained directly from the output of double-CO2 experiments (2 × CO2) conducted with a regional climate model nested in a general circulation model. The regional atmospheric model is the climate version of the National Center for Atmospheric Research/Pennsylvania State University mesoscale model, MM4.

Average annual surface temperature of Pyramid Lake for the 2 × CO2 climate is 15.5 ± 5.4°C (±1 σ), 2.8°C higher than the control. Annual overturn of the lake ceases as a result of these higher temperatures for the 2 × CO2 climate. Evaporation increases from 1400 mm yr−1 in the control to 1595 mm yr−1 in the 2 × CO2 simulation, but net water supplied to the Pyramid Lake basin increases from −6 mm yr−1 in the control to +27 mm yr−1 in the 2 × CO2 simulation due to increased precipitation.

For the open water periods, the average annual surface temperature of Yellowstone Lake is 13.2 ± 5.1°C for the 2 × CO2 climate, a temperature 1.6°C higher than the control. The annual duration of ice cover on the lake is 152 days in the 2 × CO2 simulation, a reduction of 44 days relative to the control. Warming of the lake for the 2 × CO2 climate is mostly confined to the near-surface. Simulated spring overturn for the 2 × CO2 climate occurs earlier in the year and fall overturn later than in the control. Evaporation increases from 544 mm yr−1 to 600 mm yr−1 in the 2 × CO2 simulation, but net water supplied to the Yellowstone Lake basin increases from +373 mm yr−1 in the control to +619 mm yr−1 due to increased precipitation. The effects of these climatic changes suggest possible deterioration of water quality and productivity in Pyramid Lake and possible enhancement of productivity in Yellowstone Lake.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1995
Title Effects of a 2 x CO2 climate on two large lake systems: Pyramid Lake, Nevada, and Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming
DOI 10.1016/0921-8181(94)00019-A
Authors S. W. Hostetler, Mary L. Giorgino
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Global and Planetary Change
Series Number
Index ID 70216585
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization North Carolina Water Science Center