Influence of episodic wind events on thermal stratification and bottom water hypoxia in a Great Lakes estuary
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Influence of episodic wind events on thermal stratification and bottom water hypoxia in a Great Lakes estuary

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Great Lakes Research
  • Description:
    Hypoxia formation and breakdown were tracked during 2015 in Muskegon Lake estuary at multiple locations, and five years (2011–2015) of time-series buoy observatory data were evaluated for the effect of episodic wind-events on lake mixing. Bi-weekly water temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO) profiles at four locations revealed that hypoxia occurred at all sites and persisted for 2–3 months during summer 2015. On one date in late-summer, up to 24% of the lake’s volume was estimated to be mildly hypoxic (DO < 4 mg L−1) as defined by lake sturgeon requirements. Patterns of wind speed and water column stability in late spring indicated that high winds and low stability delayed the onset of hypoxia while in late summer low winds and high stability delayed degradation of hypoxia. Wind speeds appear to play a great role in the interannual variability of stratification and subsequent hypoxia. Water temperature and DO profiles taken before and after one mid-summer mixing event (wind speed >7.7 m s−1 for 10 h), indicated that while the wind was unable to completely mix the entire water column, it deepened the epilimnion by ∼1.5 m and sheared a thin layer from the upper hypolimnion. By entraining internally loaded nutrients, such episodic wind-events may initiate and sustain algal blooms in nutrient limited surface waters. Quantifying the variable role of wind and mixing events will be key to integrating limnological processes into climate models of the future.
  • Source:
    Journal of Great Lakes Research 45(6): 1103-1112
  • Document Type:
  • Rights Information:
    Accepted Manuscript
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