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'World's largest lake may hit record high temperature'

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 06:12:07 PM, ANI

Washington: The world's largest lake, Lake Superior, is on its way to clocking record high temperatures this season, thanks to low ice cover last winter.

Jay Austin of the University of Minnesota, Duluth has documented accelerated warming of Lake Superior over the last 30 years.

"One of these seasons at low- to mid- latitudes is a season where you have a layer of warm water sitting on top of very cold water," Discovery News quoted Austin as saying.

Once these layers develop, the more buoyant warm water can't mix with the colder water below, so all the summer sun is soaked up by the surface layer.

"This year it occurred in early-to mid-June. The lake is going to have an extra month it's going to be heating up this year," he said.

Due to low ice cover, the exposed water absorbs more heat, which in turn melts the ice faster, creating a cycle of warming.

The trend will affect fisheries since some fish cannot breed in cold waters. There will also be increases in microorganism growth, causing oxygen depletion in the lake, killing or driving away other aquatic life.

The warmer lake may make at least one species especially happy: humans.

"It's going to be, frankly, a more pleasant year to be recreating in the lake," Austin said.














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