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A novel method for estimating the onset of thermal stratification in lakes from surface water measurements

Woolway, R. I., Maberly, S., Jones, I. D. and Feuchtmayr, H. (2014) A novel method for estimating the onset of thermal stratification in lakes from surface water measurements. Water Resources Research, 50 (6). pp. 5131-5140. ISSN 0043-1397

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2013WR014975

Abstract/Summary

High-frequency surface water temperature measurements were analyzed for 17 annual data series from seven lakes to assess whether the onset of thermal stratification can be determined from time series of surface water temperature measurements alone. Current methods for estimating the start of thermal stratification require depth-resolved temperature measurements, whereas many existing high-frequency measurements are often limited only to the lake surface. In this study, we show that the magnitude of the diel surface water temperature range can be used to estimate the onset of thermal stratification. We assess the accuracy of using the diel range as an estimate of the onset of thermal stratification by applying two methods based on the calculation of (1) the absolute difference in the diel surface temperature range and (2) the magnitude of the diel range from wavelet analysis. Our study shows that the onset of thermal stratification can be accurately estimated by wavelet analysis with a root mean square error of 2.1 days and by the observed diel temperature range method with a root mean square error of 11.8 days. This approach enables existing, and future, high-resolution surface water data sets to be used to estimate the onset of lake stratification. Furthermore, the continuously increasing observational powers of satellites may eventually result in surface water temperature being measured at a sufficiently high temporal resolution at the spatial scales of small lakes to allow the onset of thermal stratification to be estimated remotely.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:66481
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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