Spring warming period of Polish lake waters in a yearly thermal cycle

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Abstract

The study describes thermal regimes of thirty selected Polish lakes in the spring season. The author used 35-year series of daily measurements of surface water temperature in the years 1961-2005 and the measurements of the vertical distribution of water temperature taken in tens of selected water bodies. The diversified pace of the increase in surface water temperature (SWT) during the spring warming period makes it possible to distinguish two thermal phases: the early and late phases of spring warming. The limits of those phases are marked by the dates of the disappearance of ice cover and the dates when the SWT stays well over the threshold values, which amount to 4°C and 15°C respectively. The SWT increase in the lakes (April and May) causes changes in the water’s vertical thermal structure (the formation of epi- and metalimnion) and considerable dynamics of its descriptive parameters, such as water temperature, thermal stratification coefficient, thermal gradients, heat resources, etc.

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