We examine observations of key limnological properties (primarily temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen), measured over a 14-year period in Crater Lake, Oregon, and discuss variability in the hypolimnion on time scales of days to a decade. During some years (e.g., 1994a??1995), higher-than-average wintertime deep convection and ventilation led to the removal of significant amounts of heat and salt from the hypolimnion, while dissolved oxygen concentrations increase. In other years, such as the winter of 1996a??1997, heat and salt concentrations increase throughout the year and dissolved oxygen levels drop, indicating conditions were dominated by the background geothermal inputs and dissolved oxygen consumption by bacteria (i.e., minimal deep convection). Over the entire 14 year period, no statistically significant trend was observed in the annual hypolimnetic heat and salt content. Measurements from several thermistors moored in the hypolimnion provide new insight into the time and space scales of the deep convection events. For some events, cool water intrusions are observed sequentially, from shallower depths to deeper depths, suggesting vertical mixing or advection from above. For other events, the cooling is observed first at the deepest sensors, suggesting a thin, cold water pulse that flows along the bottom and mixes more slowly upwards into the basin. In both cases, the source waters must originate from the epilimnion. Conditions during a strong ventilation year (1994a??1995) and a weak ventilation year (1996a??1997) were compared. The results suggest the major difference between these 2 years was the evolution of the stratification in the epilimnion during the first few weeks of reverse stratification such that thermobaric instabilities were easier to form during 1995 thana?#1997. Thus, the details of surface cooling and wind-driven mixing during the early stages ofa?#reverse stratification may determine the neta?#amount of ventilation possible during a particular year.
Additional publication details
Water Quality and optical properties of Crater Lake, Oregon