Thursday, December 31, 2009

NASA study: California Lakes warming quicker than expected

New U.S. scientific findings suggest that climate change may be affecting aquatic environments faster and sooner than the atmosphere.

Researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., came to conclusions after noticing that Lake Tahoe, Clear Lake and four other big lakes in Northern California and Nevada are heating up faster than the surrounding atmosphere, The Sacramento Bee reported Sunday.

The newspaper said the researchers tapped satellite sensor temperature data compiled over 18 years in what is believed to be the first time that long-range lake surface temperatures have been dissected. What the data reportedly showed is that the lakes' water temperature rose two times faster, on average, than the regional air temperatures.

"It was a big surprise to see that," Philipp Schneider, the study's lead author and a post-doctoral research scientist at the NASA lab, told the Bee. "If it turns out they're actually changing faster than the air temperature, then there's a whole new phenomenon going on here.

The lake ecosystems are going to be very much affected, especially because the trend we observed seems to be quite rapid."

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