Climate change and the EU Water Framework Directive: how to deal with indirect effects of changes in hydrology on water quality and ecology?

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Journal: Water Sci Technol 2007/09/14
Published: 2007
Authors: Heerdt, G. N.;Schep, S. A.;Janse, J. H.;Ouboter, M.
Address: Waternet, P.O. Box 8169, 1005 AD, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. gerard.ter.heerdt@waternet.nl

In order to set ecological goals and determine measures for the European Water Framework Directive, the effects of climate change on lake ecosystems should be estimated. It is thought that the complexity of lake ecosystems makes this effect inherently unpredictable. However, models that deal with this complexity are available and well calibrated and tested. In this study we use the ecosystem model PCLake to demonstrate how climate change might affect the ecological status of a shallow peaty lake in 2050. With the model PCLake, combined with a long-term water and nutrient balance, it is possible to describe adequately the present status of the lake. Simulations of future scenarios with increasing precipitation, evaporation and temperature, showed that climate change will lead to higher nutrient loadings. At the same time, it will lead to lower critical loadings. Together this might cause the lake to shift easier from a clear water to a turbid state. The amount of algae, expressed as the concentration Chl-a, will increase, as a consequence turbidity will increase. The outcome of this study; increasing stability of the turbid state of the lake, and thus the need for more drastic measures, is consistent with some earlier studies.

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