Air-water interactions regulate lake-water temperature by balancing the rate of change of water temperature (stored heat) with the incoming and outgoing heat fluxes, which are functions of water temperature and external forcing. Yet, there is a large knowledge gap in quantifying the thermoregulation of a lake, and especially managed lakes, which is hypothesized to be related to both external environmental forcing and management decisions on lake depth and water inflow. Here we explore the thermoregulation of a restored and managed Mediterranean lake (Agamon Hula, Israel), by direct measurements of all major heat fluxes. We interpret the results with a rigorous analysis of the thermoregulation equation, obtained by formulating the energy balance equation in terms of water temperature. The equation shows how water temperature of a lake shifts toward steady state, scaled by the lake's response time. Where the steady-state temperature was reached, it was controlled by external environmental forcing and not by lake depth. Whereas the thermal response time to re-attain steady state, following an abrupt change in various environmental conditions, is controlled by water depth. The lake-temperature response to pre-defined oscillations of the environmental forcing showed that the amplitude of water temperature fluctuations and the time delay from steady-state are controlled by the ratio between the environmental forcing's time period (diurnal, seasonal or other cycles) and the thermal response time of the lake. The summertime measured CO2 fluxes of Agamon Hula revealed the lake acts as a CO2 source to the atmosphere, overpassing similar water bodies from different climates.
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