Claim: Researchers find new evidence of warming

New study reveals remote lakes in Ecuador are not immune to climate change

andes-lakesFrom Queen’s University

A study of three remote lakes in Ecuador led by Queen’s University researchers has revealed the vulnerability of tropical high mountain lakes to global climate change – the first study of its kind to show this. The data explains how the lakes are changing due to the water warming as the result of climate change.

The results could have far-reaching consequences for Andean water resources as the lakes provide 60 per cent of the drinking water for Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador.

“Until recently we knew little about the effects of recent climate changes on tropical high-mountain lakes,” says Neal Michelutti (Biology), lead author and a senior research scientist at Queen’s University’s Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL). “We saw major changes in the algae consistent with the water warming that indicates changes in the physical structure of the water column.”

Dr. Michelutti and his research team visited three lakes in Cajas National Park. They retrieved water and core samples from the centre of each of the lakes for analysis. The lakes are accessible only by hiking trails and boats are prohibited. There is also no development within the park meaning the lakes are still in pristine condition.

“Andean societies are amongst the most vulnerable when it comes to the impact of climate change,” says Dr. Michelutti. “Warming in the Andes is occurring at a rate nearly twice the global average and it’s already impacting water resources as shown in this research. These changes are also a sign of bigger changes that are coming.”

Dr. Michelutti and his team are planning to return to the region for further research this summer and will be working with lake managers in the area to try to preserve the water.

“We have previously recorded similar types of threshold shifts in polar and temperate regions,” says research team member John Smol (Biology). “These changes are harbingers of processes that will likely affect the food chain and reverberate throughout the ecosystem. We now have data showing that lakes from the Arctic to the Andes, and everywhere in between, are rapidly changing due to our impacts on climate.”


Also working on the research team are Alexander Wolfe (University of Alberta), Colin Cooke (Government of Alberta), William Hobbs (Washington State Department of Ecology) and Mathias Vuille (University at Albany, SUNY).

To read the study, visit the PEARL website.

145 thoughts on “Claim: Researchers find new evidence of warming

  1. Everywhere seems to be warming at twice the global average. Makes you wonder a bit, about how the global average for warming rates is calculated.

    • Haha!!!! You are so right! “Warming at twice the global average”!
      Definition — Boilerplate is any text that is or can be reused in new context or application without being greatly changed from the original.
      And, of course, the global average of warming for the last 18 years has been zero. Twice times zero is zero and zero is always zero.
      But wait! Perhaps not in the new math of climatology.
      Multiple computer runs of multiple computer simulations of global warming have given climatologists a range of potential values for zero — therefore some zeroes can be greater or lesser than other zeroes. Therefore climatologists can endlessly use and reuse the phrase “Warming at twice the global average” when the global average of warming is zero.. The models provide the data about the various potential values of zero and indeed, some of of the computer runs do show warming at twice (or more) the rate of others when the actual warming has been zero.
      All very simple. Climatologists have proved that zero can have multiple values! The big surprise is that these various values for zero are all positive. Perhaps that needs intense investigation.
      Eugene WR Gallun

      • What I’d like too see them come out and discover is locations where the average temperature is cooling, to allow for the greater than average warming in other places.

    • It is simple, you take the actual warming signal from stations around the globe then calculate the median temperature change. Subtract the median anomaly difference from the actual measurements and divide the anomaly by 2. Then, when measured against the actual anomaly for any given station, the warming signal indicates twice the global average for every measurement used.

  2. Yep – the observed changes are definitely due to us. These guys wouldn’t have a clue but they’re obliged to attribute the changes to us. For shame.

    • At least they may have access to renewable, eco-friendly geothermal energy.

      Geothermal resources represent an opportunity to meet energy needs with a clean, sustainable form of
      energy in South America. Not surprisingly, Ecuador is located in a privileged location along the Andean Mountain Range and is traversed by more than 40 active volcanoes. The Geothermal Energy
      Association (Gawell et al., 1999) estimated the country’s geothermal potential at 1700 MWe in 1999.
      However, it seems that the geothermal potential is much higher. Thus, Stefansson (2005) proposed an
      empirical relationship between the number of active volcanoes in a determined area and the geo-
      thermoelectric potential. Based on this relationship, if only 20 active volcanoes are considered within
      the Ecuadorian volcanic arc,…..

    • Jimbo
      February 10, 2015 at 7:19 am
      Does any geologist know the possible effect of active volcanism on these warming lakes mentioned above? Geothermal, ash reducing albedo etc?
      Andes Mountains: Andean Volcanic Belt – Ecuador
      One possibility is changes in the Evapotranspiration rates from the adjacent Amazon Jungle caused by clearing for farming within the region. Similar to the Kilimanjaro effect.

  3. Given lakes like Lake Titicaca in the Andes are 12,500 ft (around 2 miles) above sea level, how is it possible that CO2 could be causing them to warm at “twice the global average”?
    A significant portion of the atmosphere, a significant part of the greenhouse blanket, is below the lake elevation.

      • According to the Wiki entry, 50% of the atmosphere is below 18,000 ft. Assuming a linear distribution of mass up to 18,000 ft, this means around 30% of the atmosphere is below 12,000ft – so the greenhouse effect at 12,000 ft should be 30% weaker than at sea level.
        How can a greenhouse effect which is 30% weaker cause warming which is twice as fast as the global average?

      • “I don’t think 2 miles is a significant part of the atmosphere.”
        A really simple way to compute the percentage of atmosphere above and below is compare atmospheric pressure at an altitude to surface pressure. Since surface pressure is roughly 1000mb, then the percentage of the atmosphere above you at some altitude is just the pressure in mb divided by 10.
        Pressure Approx. Approx.
        Level Altitude Altitude
        850 mb 5,000 feet 1,500 m
        700 mb 10,000 feet 3,000 m
        500 mb 18,000 feet 5,500 m
        300 mb 30,000 feet 9,000 m
        250 mb 35,000 feet 10,500 m
        200 mb 39,000 feet 12,000 m
        So at 2 miles, roughly 10,000 feet, 70% of the atmosphere is still above you (and so on).
        “There is roughly 10ppm difference between 8-9km and 16-18km.”
        Yes, CO2 is indeed “well-mixed” throughout the atmosphere, suggesting that a very large part of the global CO2 (natural and otherwise) has been absorbed and buffered by the oceans, which release it uniformly all over the globe.

      • icouldnthelpit, the 10ppm difference isn’t the big difference. It might even be 10 ppm difference a 50 or 90 miles, but mass, my friend is very different.

      • You “think” that over 1/3 of atmospheric mass is not “significant”? Hypoxia becomes a threat at elevations above 12,500′ msl.; why?

      • 2000 feet is above the planetary boundary layer (PBL) below which frictional and other chaotic effects can dominate the weather and climate. Cooler and dryer too. But it’s still in the lower half of the troposphere, with significant impact on weather, not necessarily having any thing to do with co2.

      • Icouldnthelpit : Although the paper referred to actually deals with 5-25 km profiles , no-one is arguing that the CO2 volume mixing ratio is not almost unchanged with altitude . That is a common chart in most standard textbooks like those of Goody or Salby .
        However the number of CO2 molecules per unit volume will drop with altitude according to hydrostatic principles . Also if H2O is a relevant greenhouse gas , then , since its vol ratio drops so quickly with altitude, its contribution to radiative forcing is also lowered – making the assertion that this area is exhibiting more global warming than lowland levels a bit surprising.
        I need to check the paper again to see what allowance is made for local solar input.

    • As the global average temperature has not increased over the last 18 years, what they are in effect saying is that the temperature in the lakes has not changed one iota!

    • Living at just 2500 meters , I find the notion that the atmosphere at 3900 meters holds enough heat to have changes in CO2 make any significant difference highly improbable . Even here the diurnal variation is about 20c year around . And atmospheric pressure declines exponentially with altitude .
      If there are changes in the algae due to CO2 , they are almost surely due to it being the very building block , in equal measure with H2O , of the algae as of all life .

  4. Isn’t one of the base assumptions in the sampling of mean monthly temperature changes to determine the global annual temperature anomaly that any changes occur uniformly and simultaneously across the globe?

  5. Would have been nice if they had compared their results with previous studies.
    But it’s climate science, so as usual the spin is more important than the science.

    • They claim the first study of it’s kind (in the article). But seeing someone used a picture of a Canadian Arctic area lake I wonder if they ever went up there in the first place, IE go look for something no body has done, built a story and here comes the $$$$

  6. Why do I think that this study is one that would not have received funding UNLESS the dire consequences of climate change are included?
    Funny, as I am posting this I just heard on the radio about a British study that states “we were misinformed about fat in one’s diet”

  7. Is the concentration of CO2 still 400ppm at higher altitudes?
    Funny how the temperature drops the higher up you go. Funny how that happens even on high flat plains. Funny how the top of the Grand Canyon is colder than the bottom, even though the bottom receives shade from Canyon walls. Does the concentration of CO2 and water vapour drop dramatically as you ascend from the Canyon floor? Does the sun really warm the atmosphere from the surface up as claimed in the pictures presented to the public on greenhouse gasses?

    • Oh and if we could remove all “greenhouse” gasses from our atmosphere would the surface temperature drop to that of the moon? Would there be any change in temperature at different altitudes on land if that happened?

      • The day/night difference would change a lot anyway: see the diurnal temperature difference of dry deserts and compare them with other parts of the globe with huge humidity. Even without clouds in both, the difference in deserts is much larger, as water vapor retains more heat at night. Clouds makes the difference even (much) smaller, as they reflect sunlight up during the day and reflect IR down at night.
        I doubt that the difference will approach the moon’s difference, as the warming/cooling there lasts 14 days each and on earth only 12 hours, where the warming/cooling of especially the oceans is much smaller in that time span. The oceans, water vapor and clouds are the main thermostats of the earth…

      • @ wickedwenchfan February 10, 2015 at 5:01 am
        The Sunshine heats the earth surface …. and the earth’s surface radiates that “heat” as Infrared Radiation (IR) which the “greenhouse” gasses in the atmosphere absorb and “warm up” …. IF said IR radiation makes contact with them ….. but then those warmed up “greenhouse” gasses immediately beging to radiate that “heat” back into the atmosphere.
        But, …. but, …. if any of the other atmospheric gasses (Nitrogen, Oxygen, etc.) make contact with the “hot” earth surface (via action of the wind, etc.) or any of those warmed up “greenhouse” gasses then their said “heat” will be “conducted” directly to those other atmospheric gasses.
        So, when you go outside in the “heat of the day” you are actually “feeling” MOSTLY the heat of the Nitrogen and Oxygen and not the heat of the “greenhouse” gasses. And iffen you use a fan to cool yourself down …. it is mostly the Nitrogen and Oxygen that are CONDUCTING the “heat” away from your person.
        Thus, iffen there were no “greenhouse” gasses in earth’s atmosphere it would still get just as “hot” during the daytime ……. but would get a lot colder at night time ….. just like it now does in desert areas.

    • wickedwenchfan,
      Water vapor is extremely variable and its maximum in air depends of temperature and pressure, CO2 is simply mixing in all ratios with air, giving it enough time to mix.
      Near huge sources and sinks, like in the bottom of valleys and in general in the first few hundred meters over land, you can find hundreds of ppmv extra at night under inversion and less than average during the day (plant respiration and photosynthesis), but once a few hundred meters above the surface you will find near the same levels (+/- 2% of full scale) everywhere up to 24 km height.
      Above that height, there is little stirring and the molecules are far from each other, thus having less collisions (Brownian motion), which makes that the heavier molecules like CO2 tend to drop out and the lighter like helium tend to be enriched.

  8. I am waiting peer-reviewed research that show the optimum climate for our biosphere. The first question that would naturally flow would be where is our current climate and trend in relation to this finding.
    Strangely, nobody seems interested in this vital comparison. Not so strangely, the solutions that are frequently demanded in the most urgent voice, all converge on a socialist worldview: statism, bigger government, higher taxes, less personal liberty, even fewer people. That bigger picture tells me all that I need to know about “climate science”.

    • “the optimum climate for our biosphere”?
      Let’s see: we find living things on Earth in environments ranging from sub-freezing Antarctica to the bottom of the Pacific ocean near boiling thermal vents, an enormous range of temperatures and pressures. Clearly there are as many ‘optimum climates’ as there are organisms.
      Which suggests that the notion that the Earth has a single ‘climate’ is a chimera, an abstraction in search of a referent. ‘Climate science’ is essentially the study of an imaginary entity. No wonder its practitioners act like the adherents of a religion.
      /Mr Lynn

  9. “Until recently we knew little about the effects of recent climate changes on tropical high-mountain lakes,”
    So in reality they little data to go on and less historic data but ‘know ‘ these is ‘ also a sign of bigger changes that are coming’ models plus speculations does not equal data nor proof . Meanwhile they are right in that if you want any more of theses trips they better make sure that their ‘results’ hit the funding honey pot of AGW.
    And none of that makes any difference to the reality that despite the claims we are simply not seeing increase in temperature in line with increases in CO2 in the manner they where told .,by settled science, we would .

  10. The actual study may be found at PLOS|One:
    I am not challenging the author’s findings, which may be an accurate assessment of relatively recent ecological changes in the region. The study’s basic protocols appear sound and their findings appear defensible. I do wonder, however, if they have successfully excluded potentially confounding factors.
    For example, it would be interesting to compare the Cañar meteorological station data (~ 30 km away), which they utilized, to that from the Park Ranger’s weather station at Laguna Toreadora itself, if available. The climate-related conclusions of the study depend upon two factors: a presumed increase in average temperature at these lakes (~ 1.15 C) and a reduction in average windspeed (down to about 5 km/hr). Eyeballing their Figure 2 left me wondering if there was any relationship between temperature, windspeed, and SST over the period studied. That’s important because these factors are presumed to have reduced historical mixing of the lake waters and resulted in thermal stratification, thus promoting measurable changes in the predominent plankton species.
    I also note that a paved road is visible in photos of Laguna Toreadora at the official National Park website: The authors state that “[t]he lakes are accessible only by hiking trails.” Perhaps the other two lakes sampled were a bit more remote from the Park’s access roads. The authors mention that shore fishing is allowed at Park lakes but there is no data on whether this human activity is on the increase or whether their lakes have any introduced species.
    In any event, the first lake to experience a shift in plankton populations was Laguna Toreadora, commencing in the 1960s. [“The Discostella rise first occurs in the highest elevation lake (Laguna Toreadora, 3,920 m asl) beginning in the early 1960s, and latest in the lowest elevation site (Laguna Llaviuco, 3,140 m asl) during the late 1980s.”] Yet that early period there appears to have no correlation to higher temperatures or lower windspeeds, again based upon their Figure 2. As noted above, Laguna Toreadora appears to be one of the more accessible lakes in the Park. Perhaps there is an overlooked correlation with road paving (enhanced human access) and plankton populations?

    • Thanks for this considered reply to the study. Why would the changes start in 1960s when there was no evidence of “climate change” then? How can they construct a temperature sequence leading to this drastic increase in temperatures at this height if the place is so inaccessible and without stevenson screens? The GISS method of extending temperatures for miles away from a station has been proven to be shall we say “shaky” so really the study is probably based more on assumptions that reality. Good try though and will probably keep the money flowing.

      • Why would the changes start in 1960s when there was no evidence of “climate change” then?

        Because that was two (2) years after Keeling “nailed down” the atmospheric CO2 ppm numbers.

    • Checking the satellite views on Google maps, it looks like Highway 585 is a two lane paved road that passes about 500 meters from Lake Toreadora. There seem to be some paths or perhaps little used unpaved roads leading to various spots on the South Shore. The rest of the region seems relatively free of roads although there is a rather unusual construction a few kilometers West at -2.7983,-79.2797 Lots of small lakes.

    • Another problem with the study is that they use different sampling densities at different deep. In the most recent layer 1 cm-spacing, in the deeper layer 5 cm, Based on this I can’t see how they can claim that the recent change is “unprecedented” since sampling density in the lower layer is too sparse to detect changes over 20-50 year periods.
      Also note that the wind data aren’t measured. They are NCEP/NCAR 600 mb reanalysis data, i e modelled, and I have no idea how reliable reanalysis data are in this part of the World, particularly in complex mountain terrain.

      • I had assumed the sampling was based on sedimentation rates but will have to look at the paper again. I’ve mostly moved on since this paper — like almost every other paper I’ve examined on climate induced ecological disaster (frogs, polar bears, coral reefs, bird habitat, etc.) — is based upon an assumption that climate is changing the examined habitat/behavior rather than a scientific demonstration linking the two. Typically, that is because there is no data on point so the authors substitute speculation. The press release then ignores the speculative aspect and presents the “findings” as further confirmation of climate doom. One grows weary…

      • “We saw major changes in the algae consistent with the water warming that indicates changes in the physical structure of the water column.”
        Dr. Michelutti and his research team visited three lakes in Cajas National Park. They retrieved water and core samples from the centre of each of the lakes for analysis. The lakes are accessible only by hiking trails and boats are prohibited. There is also no development within the park meaning the lakes are still in pristine condition.

        No boats and sampling the middle of the lake? Sure hope they washed their boots, as that seemed to be the problem in the ‘Great Frog Extinction” story.
        Problem with drinking water?? A simple sand filter will take out 99.9% of bio materials, less than 4 foot is common in modern waterplants.

  11. Could someone please tell me what a Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab really is? Is it similar to a Paleomicroagression Gender Assessment and …?

  12. I wonder if the researchers took into account the fact that this area is where high altitude and the South Atlantic Anomaly come together in a perfect storm of solar UV variability. And they’re talking about the effect on algae.

    • It is true that increased UV can suppress phytoplankton growth rates and would be likely to alter population balances. A few years ago, this paper would have been presented as proof that the ozone hole was worse than we thought.
      But plankton isn’t the only thing sensitive to UV radiation. The UV exposure in equatorial regions is naturally greater than at high latitudes (due to the angle of the sun and the effective “depth” of the ozone layer). In addition, for every 1000 feet in altitude the ultraviolet flux increases by about 4 percent. The Canadian researchers started about 3000 miles from the equator and within a few hundred feet of sea level so I hope they took lots of sunscreen.

  13. Sounds so much like the old acid rain scare that was supposedly destroying lakes world wide. Repackage and repeat.
    Eugene WR Gallun

  14. @Eric Worrall
    …Given lakes like Lake Titicaca in the Andes are 12,500 ft (around 2 miles) above sea level, how is it possible that CO2 could be causing them to warm at “twice the global average”? A significant portion of the atmosphere, a significant part of the greenhouse blanket, is below the lake elevation….
    Hallelujah! We have found the Tropospheric Hot-Spot…

  15. “There is no development in the park so the lakes are pristine” and “the lakes provide 60 percent of the drinking water for Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador”
    Hmmm…so, like, doesn’t the initial construction and continuing operation of all that gadgetry that taps into these lakes and moves water in such a volume that it provides the third largest city in Ecuador with 60 percent of its drinking water constitute a sorta, kinda “development”, that just might–just maybe, is all I’m sayin’–make lefty, hive-tool claims that these lakes are “pristine”, a cause for skeptical wonderment–you know, like, along the lines of are we possibly dealin’ here with just another one of your standard-issue, hyped, hive-bozo, agit-prop scare-boogers, beautifully timed to lend good-comrade support to the brazen-hypocrite, carbon-piggie eco-conference to be held, later this year, in Paris? You know, that sort of thing.
    “They retrived water and core samples from the center of each of the lakes for analysis” and “boats are prohibited” and “We saw major changes in the algae consistent [WEASEL-WORD ALERT!!!] with the water warming”
    I may be engaged in some over-active head-scratching here, but, if no boats are allowed in the park, then how did the guys takin’ the water and core samples from the lake, get to the middle of the lake to take their samples, I’m wonderin’? “Sumpin’s not right here”, my little B. S. Detector is flashin’. Wait!…I’m gettin’ another reading now on my B. S. Detector (this one’s all caps in the original): ASK ‘EM IF, IN THE COURSE OF ALL THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF THE LAKES AND MAJOR CONSTRUCTION OF ALL THAT WATER-MOVING WHAT-NOT, SOMEONE DIDN’T TRACK IN ALGAE FROM WARMER, LOWER ALTITUDES THAT WAS ADAPTABLE TO THE CONDITIONS OF THESE HIGHER ALTITUDE LAKES AND HARDIER AND MORE COMPETITIVE THAN THE LAKE’S ORIGINAL ALGAE!!!

    • ‘Cause dey dragged a big kettle all de way up de hill to da pristine lake, then built a fire ‘longside dat dere pristine lake with da logs dey also dragged up da hill to da pristine lake; and done did boiled alllll da water de also dragged up de hill to da pristine lake (causin’ it is a pristine lake in all ya know) and dat dere heat in da boilin’ water did kill all da algeas on de boat dey used to sample da water in da middle of dat dere pristine lake.
      Yep. De did all dat. Cause it is a pristine lake, ya know.

    • According to the Park’s website:

      Cajas is a National Park since 1996. Cajas was declared a National Area of Recreation in 1977. Since 2001 the park is managed by the “Corporación Municipal Parque Nacional Cajas” consisting of the municipality of Cuenca and the ETAPA company. … ETAPA is a Cuenca based company specialized in telecommunications, energy and water. A significant part of the drinking water in Azuay has its origin in P.N. Cajas. The volcanic soil which covers about 90% of the Parks surface has a very high water storage capacity. Substantial management to protect the soil for erosion results in a constant supply of high quality water throughout the year.

      • “Substantial management to protect the soil for [from?] erosion results in a constant supply of high quality water throughout the year”
        Here is your ecological “threshold” tickler.

    • The lakes being studied here are between 3,000 and 4,000 m above sea level. Bear in mind that at altitude CO2 will be relatively more important than water vapor.

    • Hey guys!
      Don’t know if anyone noticed, but I just got a “shout-out” in HotWhopper’s latest blog-post–some real braggin’ rights there!
      You know, I’m beginin’ to get this sneakin’ suspicion that once you get on her good side, HotWhopper is not really the school-marmish scold she wants everyone to think she is, but, rather, that she has a good-fun sense-of-humor, after all. And then some, I’m thinkin’.

    • I noted they used a rubber dinghy to get to the middle of the lake. (These must not count as “boats”)
      I also noted they blamed El Nino “Second-order fluctuations in temperature bear a strong relationship to El Niño-driven sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (Fig. 2B), conferring the direct influence of Pacific Ocean inter-annual variability, superposed on the secular recent warming trend. ”
      and their last statement ” Given the inevitability of increasing human pressure on lakes regionally, the observation of pronounced ecological restructuring becomes especially sobering.” how is sobering a scientific term? LOL…

    • OK, has anyone taken the time to check out these lakes on Google Earth? An asphalt highway was built through the valley and the “pristine” Toreadora is all of 400 feet from the road. Has a big parking lot, too. Llaviacu is a mile and some from the highway but has its own side road and facilities. It is also less than ten miles from the center of Cuenca, with 400,000 people and 700,000 including the area surrounding. I wonder when the roads and facilities was built? I think this is an example of poor science. Go here to see more.
      2°50’19.19″ S 79°07’38.16″ W

  16. “Andean societies are amongst the most vulnerable when it comes to the impact of climate change,” Please define vulnerability from climate change. You mean like too much snow? Too many hurricanes? Tornadoes? A growing season?

      • They are the human penguins and polar bears which are helpless creatures. Except when they want to migrate or eat other animals (penguins are predator birds, by the way! Big time!).

  17. You folks have to realize that with Antarctica getting colder, there has to be a lot of places in the world “warming at twice the global average” to make up for it, so it is easy to understand now why the global average has been stagnant for 15 to 20 years, right? Just think how much worse it would have been if Antarctica wasn’t working it’s little heart out trying to balance all that warming!
    It sure would be nice to see some of all that research money going into finding ways to mitigate the problem without destroying civilization instead of being wasted on useless research that solves nothing at all accept employing imaginative researchers. If the truth is that the key to saving the world was finding a way to curb carbon dioxide, it seems to me that money spent on these sort of wasted research projects would have been better spent finding that new elusive and practical energy source we need, but no, we have to keep on throwing money down a research rat hole that serves no purpose what so ever.

  18. Hey, the initial CO2 global warming meme originated in the late 70’s/early 80’s as a method to tax the rich and transfer wealth to the poor in a good old world government, we know what’s best, way. We are now at least 35 years later and the scheme continues unabated . . . . follow the money . . . politicians, researchers, NGO’s, doom dayers/sayers, on and on. The weird thing is most of the global warming do-gooders are actually getting in the way of the commerce necessary to improve the well being of all global citizens. Read books like Abundance for a different, and optimistic, view of the future.

  19. water quality is endangered by 1.7C +
    IN ANY CASE such lakes must not be used for drinking water supply!

  20. Four decades ago a professor in the Environmental Studies Faculty at a fine Canadian University where I was studying for my Masters Degree, did a presentation on Cloud Forests from the very area near Cuenca where these lakes are located. This professor was contributing to the then Ecuadorian government’s development of a National Plan of “Buen Vivir” to protect sensitive and unique environments (and the subsequent lucrative “academic” tourist resource) through the development of National Parks. The Professor was very doubtful of a positive outcome since illegal farming and resource exploitation in these areas is extensive. The professor noted that increasing numbers of the indigenous human population had been moving into these protected areas since the 1950’s to eek out living. One of the more interesting slide photo’s he presented showed a squatter farm on a slope beside a lake in the same ecological zone at 4000+ meters elevation. In the photo of the couple who were farming this plot, the man could be seen to be having a “dump” into the lake while a woman about 20 meters away was drawing water for cooking. That being said, plankton do bloom and prosper when nutrients such as agricultural fertilizers find their way into the water shed… and, since I live less than a kilometre away from Queen’s, should I be concerned about the “hot air” (gullible warming) coming from there?

    It is acid rain that is heating up these lakes! As everyone knows acid is hot — that is why you get acid burns.
    To save those pristine lakes we need brave climate activists to fly over them and drop in tons of crushed limestone! We must counter this hot acid boiling from our skies! Greenpeace, where are you! These lakes scream in agony. Soon the waters will be on fire! Start a fund raising campaign immediately!
    Eugene WR Gallun

  22. I wrote a long post as an addition to my earlier one. I found a lot of information that suggests the authors may not have considered all of the potential impacts other than climate. Unfortunately, I did not save my work while writing it and WordPress lost the post before I could publish it. I will try to recover most of it later.

    • I agree opluso. The higher lake went first, but is 800m above the lowest lake. The temperature change of higher faster must assume the missing “hot spot”. Even if true, they have to produce evidence that the elevation differences have been accounted for (lapse rate). Warming faster, and being warmer are not the same thing. Using one weather station doesn’t provide that data. RSS and UAH readings may provide better data but are not given (probably because they don’t confirm warming). Limnologists and algae specialists have been studying these species for decades. Surely they have run controlled temperature experiments to determine if there are indeed “critical” temperature tipping points that alter species compositions.
      Other than the climate change garbage and assumptions, the paper is well done. Years ago it would have been a welcome one sample, three-site analysis published as a note. It really is a shame that everyone involved in environmental research has to bow to the climate change meme to stay in the game.

    • Yes, WordPress is wonky. I’ve set up a secondary, WP-cookie-dumping profile in Firefox to deal with some of the issues. Cookies can interfere with posting when you’ve opened more than one WP blog in any one session.
      Be aware (if you’re not already) that WordPress manages your account via your eddress, not your user name. If you’ve set up more than one WP blog with a particular eddress, bad things can happen.

  23. This Park hiking map shows that two of the selected lakes (Toreodora and Llaviuco) are quite close to paved roads.
    Laguna Chorreras appears to be northeast of the main highway, possibly just outside the Park boundaries. It is a bit more of a hike from the road than the other two and is identified on the map provided by this study of vegetation around the lake.

    • The Pitt study cited above pointed out that in this region of Ecuador, “most of the original forests are gone, being replaced by agricultural areas and by pine and eucalyptus plantations.” They also identified a history of slash-and-burn agriculture (through charcoal in lake sediments) lasting from the end of the last ice age until at least the Spanish conquest.

    • Could it be the researchers are trying to mis-represent the lakes inaccessibility and “pristine condition”? Well “inaccessible” does sound better than “has no boat ramps”. Imagine the courage and dedication required to hike 50 meters to a lake from a paved road.

  24. Claim: Researchers find new evidence of warming

    One natural and the other claimed to be by man caused by ‘Climate Change Forces’

    …..However, no studies to date have investigated limnological changes associated with the Holocene-Anthropocene transition [16] in the context of long-term natural variability……
    Air temperatures from the Cañar meteorological station near Cajas National Park show a warming trend since the early 1970s with an average increase of 0.29°C per decade, corresponding to a mean annual temperature increase of 1.15°C since that time (Fig. 2A). This increase is comparable to other temperature records across the tropical Andes [2]. Second-order fluctuations in temperature bear a strong relationship to El Niño-driven sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies (Fig. 2B), conferring the direct influence of Pacific Ocean inter-annual variability, superposed on the secular recent warming trend. Concurrent with increasing temperatures, wind velocity has steadily decreased in the Cajas region, dropping by over 40% since 2000 AD relative to the 1960s and 1970s (Fig. 2C).

    • Air temperatures from the Cañar meteorological station near Cajas National Park show a warming trend since the early 1970s with an average increase of 0.29°C per decade,

      Just curious, was any of the same methodology, equipment, contractors, personnel used in this assessment as was used in Paraguay — or the SNOTEL system in the West US?
      Just curious…

  25. 3 Step Climate Research for dummies.
    1. Find some place where something, anything in the local ecology has changed.
    2. Say it ruins everything.
    3. Blame it on Climate change.
    Note the only robust scientific step in the process is step 1 where change has to be identified and measured. Step 2 and 3 is open to all scientific and artistic license. If you become especially good at steps 2 and 3, then you you should consider a career writing novels.

  26. it’s not like these Andean areas have not been hit before,
    “The role of drought in the collapse of the ancient states of the Andean Middle Horizon has received a great deal of attention in recent years. The only Andean valley where both principal states of this time period, Wari and Tiwanaku, had established settlements is in Moquegua, Peru. Based on a GIS network analysis of ancient irrigation systems and detailed palaeoclimatic data, I assess the assertion that a centuries-long drought caused the collapse of state colonies in this valley circa AD 1000

  27. The Cañar weather station appears to be on the edge of the town of Cañar, potentially close enough to be influenced by recent population growth, etc. But the Lat/Long I found may not be sufficiently precise to determine its exact location: 2.55 S / 78.94 W
    I attempted to create a regional map on Google to relate the distance from the Park’s lakes to the weather station (about 20 miles NE of the Park):,-79.0736996,10z?hl=en
    Of course, the significant elevation changes involved would be extremely important in any effort to compare climate apples-to-apples.

    • Nifty map. I toggled the terrain feature. Still can’t quite figure out which lakes were studied. Probably not important, since the entire paper is warmist drivel. No prior studies, so it’s all handwaving and guesswork. Typical.

  28. If a location is warming at twice the global average, it is automatically assumed to be due to climate change. But if a location is below the global average, it is automatically assumed to be due to natural variation. Why couldn’t it be the other way around?

  29. …To save those pristine lakes we need brave climate activists to fly over them and drop in tons of crushed limestone! We must counter this hot acid boiling from our skies! Greenpeace, where are you! These lakes scream in agony. Soon the waters will be on fire! Start a fund raising campaign immediately!
    Eugene WR Gallun…

    That would be the Eugene WR Gallun of ‘Eugene WR Gallun’s Crushed Limestone and Cargo Planes, Inc’, would it?

  30. So the water is warming because of “climate change”, not “global warming”. Got it. And the reason they “know” the water is warming is because of algae change. Classic agenda-driven “science”.

    • C’mon Bruce, be reasonable.
      Are you suggesting there is some other way to detect the water temperature change?
      I mean, we are talking real science here, not that theoretical modelled, data-manipulated stuff.

    • I’m not detecting any sincerity from you.
      I will note that the CAGW lies, half-truths, misdirection, and misconceptions are not worse than we thought – they are exactly as bad as we think.

  31. I don’t know why they are bothering to return. They could write their report from home. It will say that the warming at these lakes is much worse than they expected and it is now urgent that something is done about climate change and it will be released just in time for the Paris Con ( ference ).

    • Free air miles , nice photos for their facebook pages , allows them to show how they spent their grant money and it gets them out of the office .
      Of course it gives them something to show at conferences they fly to where they can say the worlds doomed if people don’t stop doing things like ‘flying ‘ too.

  32. The whole thing seems rather rediculous. Plankton will chage in a lake from one year to the next without any outside forcing. It is all part of natural cycles. To believe that 1.15°C change in air temperature is going to somehow be the major cause of planton changes, considering public recreation (Fishing/camping/ and maybe swiming) seems ludicrous.

  33. thinking of finnlandia, land of 100.000 lakes.
    Thinking of malaria in italys po region;
    chinese farmers dump corpses of dead swine in the Jangtse.
    and so on…
    BUT: the andes have serious problems with 3 lakes due to 1.7C temp abberation!
    Remarkable. Hans

  34. The timing of the changes could also correspond to the introduction of trout to the area. Fish have been shown to have a significant impact on nutrient cycling. The paper notes that these are super-oligotrophic lakes. In lakes with a nutrient deficit, any increase in nutrients would be expected to have a pronounced impact on the resident phytoplankton. The tourist information shows that one of the study lakes has 2 fishing piers, and trout fishing is encouraged in an effort to manage the population.

  35. bangladesh’s braggwater, ‘natural induced’ beaver fewer in Alasca, Canada –
    SAY: STOP IT !

  36. and they have been “right” all along!
    9 Feb: WaPo: Puneet Kollipara: Why climate scientists are right about how hot the planet is going to get
    One key concept that climate scientists and policymakers use to forecast future global warming — and estimate how much we should reduce greenhouse-gas emissions — is known as “climate sensitivity.” …
    But given how complex the climate system is, how do we know that the IPCC’s sensitivity estimate holds true?…
    It’s in this context that a new piece of evidence — just published in the journal Nature — backs up the IPCC. And it comes, of all places, from a set of tiny microorganisms, preserved in ocean sediments, whose shells hold chemical fingerprints of past carbon dioxide concentrations going back millions of years. An analysis of these carbon dioxide fingerprints, in conjunction with other climate records stretching back millions of years, shows that Earth’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide has long fallen in that familiar 1.5 to 4.5 degree range…
    In other words, the Earth’s climate is as responsive to rising carbon dioxide concentrations as we’ve long suspected…
    ”This suggests that the research community has a sound understanding of what the climate will be like as we move toward a Pliocene-like warmer future caused by human greenhouse gas emissions,” said study co-author Gavin Foster of the University of Southampton

  37. Good study at first read. Commenters need to realise that this paper is about ecology rather than climate. Nice to see no mention at all in the article about the possible causes of the climatic changes in the study area, just the consequences of such changes on the lake ecosystems. It is also gratifying to see the authors put a time frame on their statements. For example, in the first sentence of the Discussion they say
    “The combined effects of increasing temperatures and reduced wind speeds have resulted in marked ecological restructuring in the Cajas study lakes, which are unprecedented within the recent centuries spanned by our sediment archives”
    The time frame of recent centuries is repeated several times in the paper when referring to their data coverage for the ecosystem.
    I would only take issue with the final sentence in their Abstract: “Our results demonstrate that these lakes have already passed important ecological thresholds,…” seems overly sensationalist to me without a longer-term historical context for their findings.

  38. From the abstract:
    “Ecological restructuring in these lakes is linked to warming and/or enhanced water column stratification.”
    Note the “and/or”.
    You see, “enhanced water column stratification” does not cut the mustard with the funders. Got to have that warming if you want to go places in this world.

  39. Were the winds measured or estimated?
    The distance of the weather station seems to far away to be representative. By “pristine”, do they mean there has been zero human influence – no animals, houses, etc?
    What are the characteristics in the first half of the century with respect to algae, plankton? Did they not core deep enough to measure that? Or have these results been conveniently ignored? There was a warm spell in the 1930’s. What did that do?

    • “Were the winds measured or estimated?”
      Estimated from reanalysis data. One wonders why since there is apparently a weather station fairly close.

  40. Great excuse to get a fully funded holiday hiking in the mountains – “we need to go up there to investigate climate change” – funding assured

  41. What a great junket and they are going back this year…… summer….quelle surprise. How awful for them. I assume they picked lakes that have no geothermal connection and that their conclusions are founded from long time data streams not just the sampling from one visit. Wouldnt want to be too hasty getting on the catastrophy band wagon would we

  42. “These changes are also a sign of bigger changes that are coming.”
    I’ve been hearing this for 30 years. Still waiting.

  43. Final comment on the “possibility” that something other than climate change impacted the plankton populations in Cajas National Park. Fish hatcheries:

    For a stretch of seven or eight miles downstream of the park, nearly every roadside farm has a handful of concrete-banked pools on the premises, fed by stream water and swarming with trout about 12 inches long.

  44. BUT THE WARMING IS NOT CAUSED BY CO2. Physics can be used to prove both carbon dioxide and methane reduce the temperature gradient by inter-molecular radiation, just as does water vapor. Thus the thermal profile rotates downwards at the surface end and all these IR-active gases lead to lower surface temperatures, not higher ones. There is overwhelming empirical support for what is in our group’s website now visited by nearly 5000 in its first six weeks.

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