Geophysical Research Letters

Lake Superior summer water temperatures are increasing more rapidly than regional air temperatures: A positive ice-albedo feedback

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Abstract

[1] Lake Superior summer (July–September) surface water temperatures have increased approximately 2.5°C over the interval 1979–2006, equivalent to a rate of (11 ± 6) × 10−2°C yr−1, significantly in excess of regional atmospheric warming. This discrepancy is caused by declining winter ice cover, which is causing the onset of the positively stratified season to occur earlier at a rate of roughly a half day per year. An earlier start of the stratified season significantly increases the period over which the lake warms during the summer months, leading to a stronger trend in mean summer temperatures than would be expected from changes in summer air temperature alone.

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