A global database of lake surface temperatures collected by in situ and satellite methods from 1985-2009

Sapna Sharma, Derek K. Gray, Jordan S. Read, Catherine M. O'Reilly, Philipp Schneider, Anam Qudrat, Corinna Gries, Samantha Stefanoff, Stephanie E. Hampton, Simon Hook, John D. Lenters, David M. Livingstone, Peter B. McIntyre, Rita Adrian, Mathew G. Allan, Orlane Anneville, Lauri Arvola, Jay Austin, John Bailey, Jill S. BaronJustin Brookes, Yuwei Chen, Robert Daly, Martin Dokulil, Bo Dong, Kye Ewing, Elvira De Eyto, David Hamilton, Karl Havens, Shane Haydon, Harald Hetzenauer, Jocelyne Heneberry, Amy L. Hetherington, Scott N. Higgins, Eric Hixson, Lyubov R. Izmest'eva, Benjamin M. Jones, Külli Kangur, Peter Kasprzak, Olivier Köster, Benjamin M. Kraemer, Michio Kumagai, Esko Kuusisto, George Leshkevich, Linda May, Sally MacIntyre, Dörthe Müller-Navarra, Mikhail Naumenko, Peeter Noges, Tiina Noges, Pius Niederhauser, Ryan P. North, Andrew M. Paterson, Pierre Denis Plisnier, Anna Rigosi, Alon Rimmer, Michela Rogora, Lars Rudstam, James A. Rusak, Nico Salmaso, Nihar R. Samal, Daniel E. Schindler, Geoffrey Schladow, Silke R. Schmidt, Tracey Schultz, Eugene A. Silow, Dietmar Straile, Katrin Teubner, Piet Verburg, Ari Voutilainen, Andrew Watkinson, Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer, Craig E. Williamson, Kara H. Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Global environmental change has influenced lake surface temperatures, a key driver of ecosystem structure and function. Recent studies have suggested significant warming of water temperatures in individual lakes across many different regions around the world. However, the spatial and temporal coherence associated with the magnitude of these trends remains unclear. Thus, a global data set of water temperature is required to understand and synthesize global, long-term trends in surface water temperatures of inland bodies of water. We assembled a database of summer lake surface temperatures for 291 lakes collected in situ and/or by satellites for the period 1985-2009. In addition, corresponding climatic drivers (air temperatures, solar radiation, and cloud cover) and geomorphometric characteristics (latitude, longitude, elevation, lake surface area, maximum depth, mean depth, and volume) that influence lake surface temperatures were compiled for each lake. This unique dataset offers an invaluable baseline perspective on global-scale lake thermal conditions as environmental change continues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number150008
JournalScientific Data
StatePublished - Mar 17 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the numerous field and research scientists who worked tirelessly to collect and document data from each lake over the past 25+ years. We thank Tim Kratz for helping with the initiation of this project. The Lake Baikal data are part of a dataset (No. 2005620028) registered with the government of the Russian Federation and collected by many Irkutsk State University staff, now supported by Russian Ministry of Education and Science, research project GR 01201461929, National Science Foundation (DEB-1136637) supported additional data management. Data for the Austrian lakes were extracted from the year books of the Austrian Hydrological Survey, Department IV/4—Water cycle, Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. The daily time series from Lake Vättern since 1955 was prepared and provided by Vättern’s Water Protection Association. Dorset Environmental Science Centre lakes have been sampled under the supervision of two senior technicians, Robert Girard and Ron Ingram, and two research scientists, Norman Yan and Andrew Paterson. Data for the New York City drinking water reservoirs were sampled and provided by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP). Data for Lakes Peipsi and Võrtsjärv were provided by the Estonian Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Some of the data for Loch Leven have been published by Dudley et al. (2013). Data for Plusssee were collected by the Max-Planck- Institute for Limnology, Ploen until 2006. Data from the Swiss lakes were kindly provided by the City of Zurich Water Supply (WVZ) and by the Amt für Abfall, Wasser, Energie und Luft (AWEL) of the Canton of Zurich. Data for Lakes Annecy, Bourget and Geneva are from the Information System of the SOERE OLA, INRA Thonon les Bains, CIPEL, CISALB, SILA. Data for Lake Constance were provided by the Institut für Seenforschung, Langenargen (Intenationale Gewässerschutzkommission für den Bodensee - IGKB). Sudbury area lakes have been sampled by the Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit at Laurentian University, under the supervision of two research scientists, Bill Keller and Norman Yan. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Funding and other support for this project were provided by Amt für Abfall, Wasser, Energie und Luft (AWEL), Canton of Zurich, Switzerland; Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Austrian Academy of Sciences; Bay of Plenty Regional Council; Belgian Science Policy; Bristol Bay salmon processors; Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District; Chinese Academy of Sciences; City of Seattle; City of Zurich Water Supply (WVZ); Comité intersyndical pour l’assainissement du lac du Bourget (CISALB); Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Eaux du Léman (CIPEL), Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station; Environmental Agency of the Veneto Region; European Union Central Europe Programme (Project EULAKES, 2CE243P3; Garda); Belgian Federal Science Policy—Belgium; Estonian Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology; Estonian Ministry of Education and Research; Estonian Science Foundation; Finland''s Environmental Authorities; Finland State Budget; Finnish International Development Agency; Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperative; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Government of Canada; Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction; International Commission for the Protection of Water between Italy and Switzerland (CIPAIS); Israeli Water Authority; Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries; Long Term Ecological Research Italian network ‘Southern Alpine lakes’; Marine Institute (Ireland); Max-Planck Society; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Sciences and Engineering Research Council; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Park Service; National Science Foundation; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; New York City Department of Environmental Protection; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change; Russian Academy of Sciences; Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation; Seqwater; State of Florida; Swedish Environmental Protection Agency; Syndicat Mixte du Lac d''Annecy (SILA); United Kingdom Natural Environment Research Council, United States Department of Agriculture Hatch; United States Geological Survey; United States National Foundation Division of Environmental Biology (NSF DEB) Grant 1026843 to the Arctic Long Term Environmental Research Project; University of Nebraska—Lincoln; U.S. Geological Survey Center for Integrated Data Analytics, University of Washington; Vale Canada Limited (formerly Inco Limited), WVZ; Waikato Regional Council; West Coast Regional Council; Xstrata Nickel (formerly Falconbridge Ltd.) and York University.


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