The volume and mean depth of Earth's lakes

Thumbnail Image
Date
2017-01-13
Authors
Cael, B. Barry
Heathcote, Adam J.
Seekell, David A.
Linked Authors
Alternative Title
Date Created
Location
DOI
10.1002/2016GL071378
Replaced By
Keywords
Limnology
Topograhy
Scaling
Volume
Mean depth
Abstract
Global lake volume estimates are scarce, highly variable, and poorly documented. We developed a rigorous method for estimating global lake depth and volume based on the Hurst coefficient of Earth's surface, which provides a mechanistic connection between lake area and volume. Volume-area scaling based on the Hurst coefficient is accurate and consistent when applied to lake data sets spanning diverse regions. We applied these relationships to a global lake area census to estimate global lake volume and depth. The volume of Earth's lakes is 199,000 km3 (95% confidence interval 196,000–202,000 km3). This volume is in the range of historical estimates (166,000–280,000 km3), but the overall mean depth of 41.8 m (95% CI 41.2–42.4 m) is significantly lower than previous estimates (62–151 m). These results highlight and constrain the relative scarcity of lake waters in the hydrosphere and have implications for the role of lakes in global biogeochemical cycles.
Description
© The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 44 (2017): 209–218, doi:10.1002/2016GL071378.
Embargo Date
Citation
Geophysical Research Letters 44 (2017): 209–218
Cruises
Cruise ID
Cruise DOI
Vessel Name
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International