A study published in the journal Hydrobiologia suggests surface temperatures in Austrian lakes are likely to rise by as much as 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, depending on the region.
The increase is a direct result of climate change, and will have an impact on the lakes' structure, function and water quality, study author Martin Dokulil, a retired researcher from the Institute for Limnology at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, said.
Most of Austria's alpine lakes are important ecosystems and are sensitive to environmental changes, he said.
"The predicted changes in surface water temperatures will affect the thermal characteristics of the lakes," he concluded. "Warmer water temperatures could lead to enhanced nutrient loads and affect water quality by promoting algal blooms and impairing the biological functions of aquatic organisms."
The study focused on nine large lakes in or bordering Austria, located in different climatic zones.
"Significant increases in summer temperatures will also affect the carbon cycling in lakes, with potential consequences on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and the Earth's climate," Dokulil said.
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