Inland waters play a key role in climate change studies, but choosing the correct tool to represent them is challenging. This paper discusses tools’ applicability for predicting the impact of climate change on a lake's hydrodynamics. It aims to help determine the most suitable method to utilize. Three different tools, capable of representing the lake's hydrodynamics, were built and evaluated through the required input data quantity, the lake's hydrodynamic representation, and time consumption. Two climate change scenarios were simulated using the thermal stability curve, a unidimensional model (GLM), and a 3D mathematical model (Delft3D). The results were consistent, indicating an increase in the lake's temperature and the required energy to break the stratification, altering the lake's thermal patterns. The stability curve requires minimum input data and, with little computing time, can cover a larger simulation window. The unidimensional model requires more input data and knowledge, but with little simulation time, it shows the temperature profile, while the three-dimensional model provides gains in spatial variability representation; however, it needs more input data and advanced knowledge and is time-consuming. In lake management, it will be appropriate to combine the methods, using the curve to analyse the trend and delimitate the period for detailed study.

  • The use of mathematical models in climate change studies.

  • How to compare the applicability of different tools used to predict climate change impacts on a lake's thermal stability.

  • The relevance of local field data.

  • How to achieve a solid tool evaluation.

  • Helps to understand the difference between methods, which are gains, the needed input data, and time-consuming.

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