This week(ish) in lake news: Disappointed skaters, “Musseling in” on climate change, and more.

Warming temperatures cool Trout Lake skating frenzy  

Skating on Trout Lake used to be a seasonal pastime for Vancouverites — until conditions became too warm, that is. Last week, Global News and the CBC reported that, for the first time since 1996, locals could enjoy ice skating on the lake. In true Canadian tradition, snow was quickly shoveled to make way for hockey rinks, and hundreds of skaters hit the ice. Unfortunately, only one day later, the ice began to melt and the lake was closed to the public. No word yet on whether the lake will be reopened later this month.

Photo credit: CBC

 Are invasive quagga mussels altering the carbon cycle in the Great Lakes? 

Invasive mussels could be doing much more damage than cluttering beaches. On December 20th, a study was published in Nature Communications that suggests a link between these common gastropods and climate change. Authors Lin and Guo collected water samples from all of the Great Lakes over a two year period and measured fluctuations in the amount of inorganic carbon dissolved in the water. They also evaluated the partial pressure of carbon dioxide gas in the water, and quantified the exchange in gases between the air and the water.

Their results indicate that, in most of the lakes, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the water has increased significantly since the introduction of quagga mussels. In fact, the Great Lakes contain so much dissolved carbon that many are supersaturated, so are releasing carbon back into the atmosphere. This result is significant because more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means more warming. One thing is for sure: the Great Lakes will continue to play an important role in global carbon cycling.

Photo credit: lakescientist.com

Extreme fog over Lake Superior: Natural event or apocalyptic nightmare? 

If you’ve ever wanted to test your zombie-fighting skills, you might consider moving next to Lake Superior. This winter’s extreme cold has created ideal conditions for the formation of sea smoke — eerie, dense fog that arises as frigid air blows over the unfrozen lake and rapidly causes warm air above the lake to condense. As explained by Dan Romero (ACB News), the alarming fog is best observed in December and January mornings. To see a video of the fascinating phenomenon, check out the original article.

Photo credit: Tim Mlodozyniec

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