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Research at Vale Living With Lakes Centre Contributes to Global Database

SUDBURY, ON (MARCH 18, 2015) – Dr. John Bailey and Jocelyne Heneberry of the Co-operative Freshwater Ecology Unit (Co-op Unit) at Laurentian University’s Vale Living with Lakes Centre are co-authors of a recently published article summarizing a new lake temperature database in the journal Scientific Data, published by Nature.   Dr. Bailey, adjunct professor and research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and Ms. Heneberry, Co-ordinator of Lakes Monitoring, are part of the Global Lake Temperature Collaboration (GLTC), an international group assembled to provide increased access to global lake temperature records.  

“The GLTC group recognized that a new global database of lake surface temperatures was needed with “on the ground” lake temperature measurements from programs like ours at the Co-op Unit adding to existing satellite data,” said Dr. Bailey. “This improves our ability, at a global scale, to identify and examine patterns of change in the temperatures of lakes over time due to climate or other factors.” 

Since its inception in 2010, the GLTC initiative has grown to a database of 291 lakes and reservoirs worldwide, providing summer-mean lake surface temperatures from 1985-2009, and roughly doubling the amount of data previously available from satellites alone. Seven Sudbury-area lakes monitored by Co-op Unit staff through a Vale/Sudbury Integrated Nickel/Ministry of Environment and Climate Change partnership are part of this database. This new dataset represents the first publicly available global compilation of in situ and satellite-based lake surface temperature data. The GLTC database also provides information on climatic drivers (air temperature, solar radiation, cloud cover), as well as geo-morphometric characteristics that may affect lake temperature (latitude, longitude, elevation, lake surface area, maximum depth, mean depth, volume). This unique, global dataset will offer an invaluable baseline perspective on lake thermal conditions for ongoing and future studies of environmental change.