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Project

Phase I Climate Change Impact Assessment: Evaluating evidence-based changes in management strategy to steer adaptive responses for mitigating climate change impacts on water quality in Scottish standing waters

Scotland’s water environment is facing a climate crisis. This changing climate is already impacting on many standing waters across Scotland in the wake of the warmest decade (2011-2020) on record. There is an urgent need for collaborative environmental leadership to up the scale, pace and impact of fit for purpose climate mitigation strategies to safeguard the integrity, biodiversity, and sustainable use of Scottish standing waters now and in future.

The vision is that through this project Scotland will receive the evidence-base it needs to help steer the formation, prioritisation, and implementation of adaptive responses by key stakeholder organisations, for example through policy-based to nature-based solutions and coordinated management practices, to mitigate climate-driven risks and impacts these could have on the water quality of Scottish standing waters under different climate scenarios.

 

 

 

Project Scope

The overall aim of Phase I is to produce an evidence-base which addresses the urgent need to assess and understand climate change impacts on the water quality of Scottish standing waters[1]. This evidence-base will be used to inform and serve the collaborative development of mitigation strategies in Phase II for realising impact at multiple scales.

 

Research questions to be answered through this project:

  • Is there evidence of a causal link between climate change impacts and water quality issues in Scottish standing waters at national, regional, and local scales?
  • What are the main types of climate-driven water quality impacts identified in Scottish standing waters, under current and projected climate change scenarios?
  • Which areas, locations, and types of Scottish standing waters are currently most to least at risk in terms of water quality issues from climate change impacts at national, regional, and local scales?
  • Which areas, locations, and types of Scottish standing waters will likely experience exacerbated water quality risks under projected climate change scenarios?
  • What factors contribute to the risk of water quality issues from climate change impacts in Scottish standing waters at national, regional, and local scales?
  • What factors need to be considered for mitigating climate-driven risks to water quality in Scottish standing waters, under current and projected climate change scenarios?

[1] For the purpose of this project proposal Scottish standing waters will include lochs, reservoirs, and other locally important still waters. Using the criteria in Annex 1 of the SSSI site selection guidelines (2018) we would not expect this project scope to cover standing waters which are temporary or less than 1ha in area or 1m in depth (we recognise the value of ponds and pools however they are likely to be functionally and biologically distinctive with different data/evidence/tools available; canals are recognised as important but also excluded from this project scope as they are considered slow moving waters).

Project Objectives

Objective 1. Use Phase I to establish and deliver a preliminary evidence-base to evaluate the extent to which:

1.1 Climate change impacts are driving a current and future risk of water quality issues in Scottish standing waters with assessment undertaken at national, regional, and local scales.

1.2 Climate change impacts on water quality in Scottish standing waters are mediated through catchment management practices, in-lake processes, and other interacting factors (e.g. prevailing weather; hydrological extremes) in current and projected climate change scenarios.

 

Objective 2. Apply expert opinion, best available data, and combined outputs from Objective 1. to answer these 6 key strategic water research questions through this project:

2.1 Drivers and Impacts:

  • Is there evidence of a causal link between climate change impacts and water quality issues in Scottish standing waters at national, regional, and local scales?
  • What are the main types of climate-driven water quality impacts identified in Scottish standing waters, under current and projected climate change scenarios?

2.2 Risk:

  • Which areas, locations, and types of Scottish standing waters are currently most to least at risk in terms of water quality issues from climate change impacts at national, regional, and local scales?
  • Which areas, locations, and types of Scottish standing waters will likely experience exacerbated water quality risks under projected climate change scenarios?

2.3 Factors:

  • What factors contribute to the risk of water quality issues from climate change impacts in Scottish standing waters at national, regional, and local scales?
  • What factors need to be considered for mitigating climate-driven risks to water quality in Scottish standing waters, under current and projected climate change scenarios?
Contact Pauline Lang