Conroy, Joseph D.
March 2008
Ohio Journal of Science;Mar2008, Vol. 108 Issue 1, pA-8
Academic Journal
Studies of the temporal dynamics (e.g., dissolved oxygen depletion rate) and the annual areal extent of zones of hypoxia (low oxygen, < 4 mg O2 L-1) and anoxia (no oxygen, < 1 mg L-1) in Lake Erie often focus on the perceived influence of external nutrient load and, in turn, the perceived effects of people on affecting oxygen loss. However, bulk hydrodynamic processes as induced by weather may serve to diminish (e.g., through storm-caused mixing) or amplify (e.g., through water-column stagnation with low storm frequency) the effects of nutrient load on hypolimnetic oxygen loss. Here, I investigated how weather (wind speed) and associated hydrodynamic processes (wave height, water level) affected water column dissolved oxygen concentration (DO) in the Sandusky subbasin of Lake Erie during 2005 and 2006. I measured temperature and DO at 0.5-m intervals with a calibrated multiparameter instrument (YSI Model 6600) at a site in the middle of the Sandusky subbasin on 19 and 17 dates in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Weather and hydrodynamic process data for both years were downloaded from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration websites (wind speed and wave height station 45005: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov; water level station 9063079: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov) and daily means were calculated. Initial water column stratification occurred in late-May following periods of calm, low wave-height weather conditions. Hypolimnetic DO dropped below 1 mg L-1 by late-June in both years. The hypoxic zone maintained its volume under stagnant conditions and expanded and contracted with increased wind speed, wave height, and water level oscillations indicating the importance of weather and hydrodynamic processes on DO dynamics in Lake Erie.


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