Lake Neusiedl; water level; evaporation; climate change
As an endorheic steppe lake with a relatively small catchment area and an annual evaporation rate that usually exceeds annual precipitation, Lake Neusiedl's water budget is highly dependent on the evaporation and precipitation patterns. Considering the continuous increase of global GHG emissions and the correlating increase of global mean temperatures, a temperature rise in Austria is very likely in the following decades. This increase of atmospheric temperatures will have a positive effect on the evaporation rates of surface waters including Lake Neusiedl and, thus, a negative effect on their water budget. Due to its special ecological characteristics, an increase of evaporation without any change in precipitation patterns could easily cause a net water loss of Lake Neusiedl and even lead to seasonal desiccation in the long run. The lower water level of the lake and concomitant ecological changes will have a detrimental impact on the region's economy, most notably regarding tourism, as touristic activities are highly dependent on a sufficient water level of the lake. Consequently, lower water levels of Lake Neusiedl will attract fewer visitors, unless appropriate actions to mitigate the effects of increased evaporation are implemented. Therefore, this thesis outlines the ecological impacts of increased atmospheric temperatures on Lake Neusiedl, their effect on the touristic activity in the region and provides mitigation strategies. Furthermore, the potential evaporation rate of Lake Neusiedl at various mean temperature levels is calculated in 3 future climate scenarios until 2050 indicating that the annual water budget will most probably turn negative.