graph illustrationg lower oxygen levels as temperatures increase

Lower dissolved oxygen levels

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What Are the Water-Related Effects of Climate Change in the United States?

Air and Water Temperature Increases

The Effect on Water Resources

An increase in the air temperature will cause water temperatures to increase as well. As water temperatures increase, water pollution problems will increase, and many aquatic habitats will be negatively affected.

For example, increases in water temperatures are expected to result in the following:

  • Lower levels of dissolved oxygen due to the inverse relationship that exists between dissolved oxygen and temperature. As the temperature of the water increases, dissolved oxygen levels decrease.
  • Increases in pathogens, nutrients and invasive species.
  • Increases in concentrations of some pollutants such as ammonia and pentachlorophenol due to their chemical response to warmer temperatures.
  • Increase in algal blooms (Photo of algal blooms).
  • Loss of aquatic species whose survival and breeding are temperature dependent.
  • Change in the abundance and spatial distribution of coastal and marine species and decline in populations of some species.
  • Increased rates of evapotranspiration from waterbodies, resulting in shrinking of some waterbodies such as the Great Lakes.

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Section 16 of 50