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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2015, Article ID 536892, 11 pages
Research Article

Potential Influence of Climate Change on the Acid-Sensitivity of High-Elevation Lakes in the Georgia Basin, British Columbia

Environmental and Life Sciences, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 7B8

Received 28 October 2014; Revised 23 February 2015; Accepted 24 February 2015

Academic Editor: Harry D. Kambezidis

Copyright © 2015 Donna Strang and Julian Aherne. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Global climate models predict increased temperature and precipitation in the Georgia Basin, British Colmbia; however, little is known about the impacts on high-elevation regions. In the current study, fifty-four high-elevation lakes (754–2005 m a.s.l.) were studied to investigate the potential influence of climate change on surface water acid-sensitivity. Redundancy analysis indicated that the concentration of nitrate, dissolved organic carbon, and associated metals was significantly influenced by climate parameters. Furthermore, these components differed significantly between biogeoclimatic zones. Modelled soil base cation weathering for a subset of the study lakes was predicted to increase by 9% per 1°C increase in temperature. Changes in temperature and precipitation may potentially decrease the pH of surface waters owing to changes in anthropogenic deposition and organic acid production. In contrast, increased soil base cation weathering may increase the critical load (of acidity) of high-elevation lakes. Ultimately, the determining factor will be whether enhanced base cation weathering is sufficient to buffer changes in natural and anthropogenic acidity. Mountain and high-elevation regions are considered early warning systems to climate change; as such, future monitoring is imperative to assess the potential ramifications of climate change on the hydrochemistry and acid-sensitivity of these surface waters.