Introduction

Arctic lakes contain key resources for arctic communities in terms of food, water, transport, and industrial water for hydropower or mining. The variety of lakes in the Arctic is surprisingly large, and the ranges in lake type, water chemistry, and physical mixing characteristics rival those in other regions of the world. But one universal and distinguishing feature is the long period of ice cover in winter months. Another distinguishing feature is a long period of complete darkness in the winter, coupled with several months of 24-h light during the summer. A final distinction of arctic lakes that has gained importance recently is their responsiveness to climate change. These lakes of the far north will be our beacon signals of the changes expected in potentially all aquatic ecosystems in this century.

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