Calculations have been made for how the water release, water abstraction, water temperature and ice extent are expected to change in Lake Hjälmaren up to the year 2100 due to global warming.
The most noticeable effects of the future climate on Lake Hjälmaren are expected to be:
- More frequent low water levels
- No change in the highest water levels (the calculated maximum water level)
- An increase in water temperature
- A shorter ice cover period.
The water level in Lake Hjälmaren is only expected to change by a small amount in the future climate. The most obvious change is that low water levels will be more frequent, especially during the summer and autumn. This is due to an expected increase in evaporation, both from vegetation in the lake’s catchment area and from the surface of the lake. Currently the water level is lower than 21.6 m for about one month per year onaverage. In the future the water level is expected to be lower than 21.6 m for about 3.5 months.
For the highest water levels (calculated maximum water level) an increase is shown for the high emission scenario (RCP8.5) while changes are expected to be small for the scenario with limited emission of greenhouse gases (RCP4.5).
The water temperature in Lake Hjälmaren is expected to increase by about half a degree by the middle of the century and by 1 to 2.5 degrees by the end of the century. The number of days per year where the surface water temperature exceeds 20 degrees is expected to increase from the current value of around 7 weeks per year to about 9 weeks per year by the middle of the century and up to 12 weeks per year by the end of the century. Currently Lake Hjälmaren is covered with ice every winter. In the future climate it is expected that there will be some winters without ice coverage.