A recent paper examines the influence of climate change on Candlewood Lake. The researchers found strong correlations between decreasing lake bottom temperatures, stronger resistance to mixing, and declining average spring and summer wind speed.
The loss of wind has likely contributed to increased frequency of blue-green algae blooms.
The research paper was published in Geo: Geography and Environment, an international, open access journal of the Royal Geographic Society. Historically, algae blooms were considered the result of excessive nutrients, like phosphorus or nitrogen in fertilizers, getting into the water and increasing algae growth. But last year, an assessment of long-term trends for management of Candlewood Lake found that phosphorus levels have not increased since the mid-1980s.
Aquatic Ecosystem Research partner Larry Marsicano, the former Executive Director of the Candlewood Lake Authority, and two others used a 31-year database for the lake to compare summer stratification patterns with changes in climate variables. Blue-green algae can thrive in warmer temperatures and climate can have an effect on how deeper lakes stratify, or separate into distinct layers, in the summer based on water temperature and density gradients.