Estimates of phosphorus entrainment in Lake Mendota: a comparison of one-dimensional and three-dimensional approaches

Amy M. Kamarainen, Hengliang Yuan, Chin H. Wu, Stephen R. Carpenter

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 7:553-567 (2009) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2009.7.553

ABSTRACT: Entrainment of phosphorus across the thermocline can be an important nutrient source for phytoplankton in stratified lakes. In eutrophic stratified lakes, seasonal entrainment can be responsible for delayed recovery following a decrease in external phosphorus load. We compared seasonal estimates of entrainment derived from single- and multilocation thermocline migration approaches. Entrainment estimates from these methods were similar. A sampling approach based on a single centralized location produced whole-lake entrainment estimates in general agreement with the mean value from the multilocation approach (the single-location approach reasonably reproduced patterns at a weekly and seasonal time scale). In this study, it was not essential to account for spatial variation in estimating annual rates of entrainment. We also estimated entrainment based on a threedimensional (3-D) hydrodynamic model over a short period of significant thermocline migration. The 3-D model was most useful in exposing spatial and temporal variation in temperature and phosphorus profiles that are otherwise difficult to observe. Spatial variation in phosphorus profiles was associated with upwelling of metalimnetic water represented by the 3-D model. These transient dynamics, though a relatively small portion of an annual phosphorus budget, may supply nutrients to epilimnetic phytoplankton during periods of nutrient limitation. There is a need for further research that combines 3-D hydrodynamic modeling with field collection of biological and chemical data.