19th century eutrophication of a remote boreal lake: a consequence of climate warming?
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): K. A. Moser; J. P. Smol; G. M. Macdonald; C. P.S. Larsen
Publication Year: 2002

Cataloging Information

  • Alberta
  • arctic
  • biogenic silica
  • boreal
  • boreal forests
  • Canada
  • climate change
  • climate change
  • diatoms
  • fire management
  • forest management
  • histories
  • lakes
  • Northwest Territories
  • nutrients
  • paleolimnology
  • phosphorus
  • phosphorus
  • pollen
  • temperature
  • varves
  • wildfires
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 50927
Tall Timbers Record Number: 27655
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


To investigate the response of a remote boreal lake to recent climate warming, a ~200-year varved sediment record from Rainbow Lake A (RLA), located in the northern boreal forest of Wood Buffalo National Park, straddling northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories (Canada), was investigated using diatom assemblages and biogenic silica concentrations. Diatom community composition, trends in diatom-inferred total phosphorus (TP) and biogenic silica levels all showed significant changes beginning between circa 1830 and 1840, coincident with the onset of increasingly warm June/ July temperatures in northern Canada.We evaluated several hypotheses which may have caused these nutrient changes, including local anthropogenic disturbances, forest fires, increased atmospheric deposition of nutrients or pollen, and internal sources of nutrient regeneration.We concluded that TP is likely increasing as a result of enhanced internal cycling of phosphorus due to either increased thermal stratification in response to warmer summer temperatures and/ or decreased meromictic stability. The results presented here, in combination with other recent paleolimnological research in northern latitude regions, suggest widespread aquatic response to increasing temperatures beginning in the 19th century.

Moser, K. A., J. P. Smol, G. M. Macdonald, and C. P. S. Larsen. 2002. 19th century eutrophication of a remote boreal lake: a consequence of climate warming? Journal of Paleolimnology, v. 28, no. 2, p. 269-281.