Observations of radiatively driven convection in a deep lake

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Observations of radiatively driven convection in deep, ice-free Lake Superior from a set of moorings and an autonomous glider are used to characterize the spatial and temporal scales of the phenomenon. The moored observations show that instability builds at the surface on scales of hours, water near the bottom of the lake begins warming roughly 6 h after sunup, and the water column homogenizes a few hours after sundown. Glider observations suggest the existence of distinct convective chimneys, which carry warmed water to depth with horizontal scales on the order of tens of meters. Patches of photoquenched phytoplankton coincide with patches of anomalously warm water, providing a secondary tracer of water recently in the euphotic zone, and provide insight into the vertical development of convective chimneys. An analysis of the abundance of convective chimneys is used to estimate the lateral scale of convective cells, which appears to be on the order of 50 m.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2152-2160
Number of pages9
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to acknowledge enlightening discussions with Stefan Llewellyn-Smith, Alberto Scotti, and Samuel Kelly conducted during the preparation of this manuscript, as well as technician Daniel Titze and the deck crew of the R/V Blue Heron, who participated in the collection of mooring data. Glider operations were supported by the US IOOS office for the development of the Great Lakes Observing System. Samuel Kelly provided data from moorings GM1 and GM2 with support from NSF-OCE-1635560. The author was supported under NSF-OCE-1829895 during the preparation of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography


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