Climate influence on water quality: which trends are already apparent? (HSOV1b)

Surface waters form a characteristic environment of the low delta in which the Netherlands is situated. Over the last decades they have been severely impacted by a surplus of nutrients which resulted in massive blooms of duckweed, algae and cyanobacteria. Major investments have been made to improve this situation. Just as the water quality starts to improve again, climate change may cause  water quality and the ecological state to deteriorate again.   

Climate change has complex influences on the aquatic ecosystem which are difficult to unravel. Through statistical analysis of several large Dutch data sets the nature and scale of already observable and expected impacts of climate change on water quality and aquatic ecology was studied. Furthermore, the implications for the achievement of different management objectives were highlighted and management actions were formulated that may ameliorate the water quality.

One of the expected consequences of climate change is an increase in potentially toxic cyanobacterial blooms both in time and in space. As we are confronted with a serious lack of information on the occurrence of cyanobacterial toxins in Dutch surface waters, we worked on this gap by implementing a state of the art toxin analysis and an extensive field survey.

Project Results

6 April 2010: Dissertation Sarian Kosten (Wageningen UR): Potential climate effects from carbon emissions of shallow lakes. There is concern that a warmer climate may boost carbon emissions from lakes and promote the chance that they lose their vegetation and become dominated by phytoplankton or cyanobacteria. Sarian Kosten