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Optical and biological properties of Lake Ülemiste, a water reservoir of the city of Tallinn I: Water transparency and optically active substances in the water

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Optical and biological measurements were performed in Lake Ülemiste in the summer of 1997 (four measurement days), and from May to October in 1998 (12 measurement days). This kind of data, describing the type and amount of optically active substances in the water, phytoplankton characteristics, the underwater light field, and temperature–oxygen situation in the lake are necessary when estimating the ecological state of the lake. Lake Ülemiste is the main drinking water reservoir of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. Phytoplankton abundance and biomass, chlorophyll a and suspended matter were determined from collected Lake Ülemiste water samples in the laboratory. Spectrophotometrical processing of the filtered and unfiltered water was carried out to describe the beam attenuation coefficient spectra and optical influence of yellow substance in the water. Vertical profiles of downwelling irradiance of the PAR (400–700 m) region of the spectrum (and from these data the averaged over depth diffuse attenuation coefficient) were determined. The relative transparency of the water was estimated by using a Secchi disk. Passive optical remote measurements were episodically made from aboard a boat. Results obtained confirmed that Lake Ülemiste is turbid (almost hypertrophic), comparable with most turbid lakes in Estonia (e.g. Lake Võrtsjärv) and Finland (Lake Tuusulanjärvi). Its chlorophyll a content varied within the range 13–121 mg m–3, phytoplankton biomass 3–107 mg L–1, phytoplankton abundance 65 000–999 000 mL–1, suspended matter 8–34 mg L–1, effective concentration of the yellow substance 6–30 mg L–1, diffuse attenuation coefficient of light in the PAR region 1.0–3.3 m–1 and a Secchi disk depth of 0.5–1.75 m. The temporal variation of the spatial averages of these parameters during 1998 was analysed. Almost all characteristics showed an increase from May to midsummer with a maximum in late July or in August (correspondingly the Secchi depth values were minimal in late summer). The amount of yellow substance was an exception, which was nearly constant during the observation period. The maximum level of chlorophyll a content in July and August 1998 markedly exceeded that in 1997, despite the fact that the summer of 1997 was sunny, but the summer of 1998 was cold and rainy. The correlative relationships between the different parameters were investigated together with the respective data for other lakes. They show that the data of Lake Ülemiste supplemented the correlation graph in the region of turbid lakes, whereby in all cases the correlation coefficient increased following the addition of Lake Ülemiste data. The highest correlation coefficient was obtained when light attenuation coefficient values were correlated with a sum of weighted concentrations of chlorophyll a, yellow substance and suspended matter (multiple regression analysis).
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Keywords: lake optics; limnology; water constituents; water reservoirs

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Estonian Marine Institute, Viljandi Road 18b, 11216 Tallinn, Estonia and 2: Tallinn Water Ltd, Järvevana Road 3, 10132 Tallinn, Estonia

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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