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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Quantification of the effect of environmental changes on the brownification of Lake Kukkia in southern Finland

Rankinen, Katri; Junttila, Virpi; Futter, Martyn; Bernal, Jose Enrique Cano; Butterfield, Daniel; Holmberg, Maria


The browning of surface waters due to the increased terrestrial loading of dissolved organic carbon is observed across the northern hemisphere. Brownification is often explained by changes in large-scale anthropogenic pressures (including acidification, and climate and land-use changes). We quantified the effect of environmental changes on the brownification of an important lake for birds, Kukkia in southern Finland. We studied the past trends of organic carbon loading from catchments based on observations taken since the 1990s. We created hindcasting scenarios for deposition, climate and land-use change in order to simulate their quantitative effect on brownification by using process-based models. Changes in forest cuttings were shown to be the primary reason for the brownification. According to the simulations, a decrease in deposition has resulted in a slightly lower leaching of total organic carbon (TOC). In addition, runoff and TOC leaching from terrestrial areas to the lake was smaller than it would have been without the observed increasing trend in temperature by 2 & DEG;C in 25 years.


Atmospheric deposition; Brownification; Climate change; Land-use change; Process-based models

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2023, Volume: 52, number: 11, pages: 1834–1846
Publisher: SPRINGER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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