Lake Bysjön, southern Sweden, has experienced major lake-level lowerings during the Holocene, with one interval about 9000 14C yr B.P. when water level dropped ca. 7 m and the lake became closed. These changes were not solely due to known changes in radiation budgets or seasonal temperatures. Simulations with a lake-catchment model indicate that, given the actual changes in radiation and temperatures, all the observed lake-level lowerings (including the major lowering at 9000 14C yr B.P.) could have occurred in response to precipitation changes of <75 mm/yr when winter temperatures were warmer than today. In these circumstances, the reduction of runoff into the lake caused by increased evapotranspiration during the late winter and spring, combined with relatively small changes in precipitation, was sufficient for the lake to become closed. When winter temperatures were colder than today, the reduction in winter runoff related to reduced precipitation was only very slight and insufficient to lower the lake below threshold. In such circumstances, changes in outflow were sufficient to compensate for the combined changes in precipitation and runoff, and lake level therefore remained unchanged.