Changes in Air Temperature and Precipitation Chemistry Linked to Water Temperature and Acidity Trends in Freshwater Lakes of Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts, USA)

Krista Lee1, Stephen M. Smith2 and Sophia E. Fox3

Freshwater lakes are an important natural and cultural resource in national parks across the USA.  At Cape Cod National Seashore, in southeastern Massachusetts, the water quality of these water bodies (known as kettle ponds), along with local precipitation chemistry, has been measured since the 1980s.  These datasets, along with air temperature obtained from a local weather station, were analyzed to assess temporal trends in the air temperature, precipitation acidity, pond temperature, and pond pH, and are interpreted within the context of regional air quality improvements and increasing temperatures from regional climate warming.  The results suggest that all parameters have increased significantly during the last several decades.  As temperature and pH regulate a wide variety of physical, chemical, and biological processes, these changes may be influencing the overall ecology of the kettle ponds.  This analysis provides an opportunity to gauge the future trajectory of this important resource and may ultimately guide management strategies for their continued protection against a backdrop of climate change and atmospheric emission controls.


1Cape Cod National Seashore,
2Cape Cod National Seashore,
3Cape Cod National Seashore,