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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Nov 1;41(21):7424-9.

Unexpected response of high Alpine Lake waters to climate warming.

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Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 25, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Over the past two decades, we have observed a substantial rise in solute concentration at two remote high mountain lakes in catchments of metamorphic rocks in the European Alps. At Rasass See, the electrical conductivity increased 18-fold. Unexpectedly high nickel concentrations at Rasass See, which exceeded the limit in drinking water by more than 1 order of magnitude, cannot be related to catchment geology. We attribute these changes in lake water quality to solute release from the ice of an active rock glacier in the catchment as a response to climate warming. Similar processes occurred at the higher elevation lake Schwarzsee ob Sölden, where electrical conductivity has risen 3-fold during the past two decades.

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