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Geographic redistribution of microcystin hotspots in response to climate warming

Geographic redistribution of microcystin hotspots in response to climate warming

Merder, Julian ORCID: 0000-0002-5958-7016 , Harris, Ted, Zhao, Gang ORCID: 0000-0003-2737-0530 , Stasinopoulos, Dimitrios M., Rigby, Robert A. and Michalak, Anna M. ORCID: 0000-0002-6152-7979 (2023) Geographic redistribution of microcystin hotspots in response to climate warming. Nature Water, 1 (10). pp. 844-854. ISSN 2731-6084 (Online) (doi:

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High concentrations of cyanobacterial toxins such as microcystin represent a global challenge to water quality in lakes, threatening health, economies and ecosystem stability. Lakes are sentinels of climate change but how warming will affect microcystin concentrations is still unclear. Here we examine how warming impacts the probability of exceeding microcystin water quality thresholds across 2,804 lakes in the United States and show how future warming will alter these probabilities. We find that higher temperatures consistently increase the likelihood of microcystin occurrence but that the probability of microcystin concentrations above water quality thresholds is highest for water temperatures between 20 and 25 °C. Regions with temperatures that promote microcystin will shift to higher latitudes in the coming decades, leading to relative changes in exceedance probabilities of more than 50% in many basins of the United States. High nitrogen concentrations amplify the impact of rising temperatures, calling for increased awareness of a substantial hazard to ecosystems and human health under global warming.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: harmful algae, microcystin toxicity, water quality, high-latitude US lakes, GAMLSS, exceedance probabilities, quantile estimation, mixed distributions, zero-adjusted distributions, log-normal distribution, global warming, spatial toxin redistribution
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences (CMS)
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2023 14:27

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