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Water color affects the stratification, surface temperature, heat content, and mean epilimnetic irradiance of small lakes

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The effects of water color on lake stratification, mean epilimnetic irradiance, and lake temperature dynamics were examined in small, north-temperate lakes that differed widely in water color (1.5–19.8 m–1). Among these lakes, colored lakes differed from clear lakes in the following ways: (i) the epilimnia were shallower and colder, and mean epilimnetic irradiance was reduced; (ii) the diel temperature cycles were more pronounced; (iii) whole-lake heat accumulation during stratification was reduced. The depth of the epilimnion ranged from 2.5 m in the clearest lake to 0.75 m in the most colored lake, and 91% of the variation in epilimnetic depth was explained by water color. Summer mean morning epilimnetic temperature was ~2 °C cooler in the most colored lake compared with the clearest lake. In clear lakes, the diel temperature range (1.4 ± 0.7 °C) was significantly (p = 0.01) less than that in the most colored lake (2.1 ± 1.0 °C). Change in whole-lake heat content was negatively correlated with water color. Increasing water color decreased light penetration more than thermocline depth, leading to reduced mean epilimnetic irradiance in the colored lakes. Thus, in these small lakes, water color significantly affected temperature, thermocline depth, and light climate.

Les effets de la couleur de l'eau sur la stratification lacustre, l'irradiation moyenne de l'épilimnion et la dynamique de la température ont pu être examinés dans de petits lacs tempérés boréaux qui diffèrent considérablement de couleur (1,5–19,8 m–1). Parmi les lacs, les lacs colorés se distinguent des lacs clairs par les caractéristiques suivantes : (i) leur épilimnion est moins profond et plus froid et leur irradiation épilimnique moyenne est réduite, (ii) les cycles journaliers de température sont plus prononcés et (iii) l'accumulation de chaleur dans le lac entier durant la stratification est réduite. La profondeur de l'épilimnion varie de 2,5 m dans le lac le plus clair à 0,75 m dans le lac le plus coloré; la couleur de l'eau explique 91 % de la variation de la profondeur de l'épilimnion. La température moyenne de l'épilimnion durant les matins d'été est de ~2 °C plus froide dans le lac le plus coloré que dans le lac le plus clair. Dans les lacs clairs, l'étendue journalière de la température (1,4 ± 0,7 °C) est significativement (p = 0,01) plus faible que dans le lac le plus coloré (2,1 ± 1,0 °C). Il existe une corrélation négative entre le changement de contenu calorique du lac entier et la couleur de l'eau. Une augmentation de la couleur de l'eau diminue plus la pénétration de la lumière que la profondeur de la thermocline, ce qui a pour effet de réduire l'irradiation moyenne de l'épilimnion dans les lacs colorés. Ainsi, dans ces petits lacs, la couleur de l'eau affecte de façon significative la température, la profondeur de la thermocline et le climat lumineux.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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