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Studying the warming trend in Kentucky Lake with temperature measurements at three nearby weather stations

Authors: Qiaofeng (Robin) Zhang*, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Murray State University, Manoj Pathak, Department of Mathmatics and Statistics, Murray State University
Topics: Environment, Global Change
Keywords: lake, long-term monitoring, climate change
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Lakes are an important component of our environment that both reflect and regulate temperature change. It is important to study to what extent the role of a large lake plays in the process of climate change. The Kentucky Lake on the lower Tennessee River is the largest reservoir by surface area in the eastern United States east of the Mississippi River, which makes it a good candidate to study the impact of climate change and its temperature regulating function in the region. Murray State University’s Hancock Biological Station runs a long-term monitoring program of the Kentucky Lake since 1988. Temperature measurements at both the surface and the bottom of the Lake for the last 31 years were collected, along with temperature measurements at three nearby weather stations – Paducah, KY, Murray, KY, and Dover, TN. Temperature data were analyzed by year and by month. The results show that 1) there is a statistically significance difference in lake surface and bottom temperature; the surface is warmer than the bottom; 2) there is a statistically significance warm trend in both the lake surface and bottom temperature; the upward slope is slightly higher for surface temperature than the bottom temperature; 3) no statistical significance is found on temperature trends of other months nor annual average; 4) no statistical significance is found on air temperature trends of the three weather stations nearby.

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