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Long-term data are often lacking to effectively assess patterns of lake acidification and recovery. Fortunately, paleolimnological techniques can be used to infer past changes in lakewater acidity and related variables by means of biological indicators, such as diatom valves and chrysophyte scales, preserved in 210Pb-dated sediment cores. We summarize paleolimnological data that we have gathered from 36 Sudbury (Ontario) and 20 Adirondack Park (New York) lakes to estimate the magnitude of lake acidification and any subsequent recovery in these lake systems. In both regions, many lakes were shown to have acidified considerably, some over two pH units, since the 1850s. Although some recovery was noted in both lake regions, Sudbury lakes generally showed larger increases in inferred lakewater pH with recent declines in sulfur emissions. Possible explanations of these differences include the greater decrease in sulfate deposition in the Sudbury area, as well as generally longer residence times of lakes in Sudbury, perhaps allowing for more in-lake alkalinity generation. In addition, Sudbury lakes generally had higher pre-industrial pH levels, suggesting that lakes with higher natural buffering capacities are more likely to recover more quickly with declines in deposition, even if they had been acidified to a great extent.