Simulation of deep ventilation in Crater Lake, Oregon, 1951–2099

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5046

Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service



The frequency of deep ventilation events in Crater Lake, a caldera lake in the Oregon Cascade Mountains, was simulated in six future climate scenarios, using a 1-dimensional deep ventilation model (1DDV) that was developed to simulate the ventilation of deep water initiated by reverse stratification and subsequent thermobaric instability. The model was calibrated and validated with lake temperature data collected from 1994 to 2011. Wind and air temperature data from three general circulation models and two representative concentration pathways were used to simulate the change in lake temperature and the frequency of deep ventilation events in possible future climates. The lumped model air2water was used to project lake surface temperature, a required boundary condition for the lake model, based on air temperature in the future climates.

The 1DDV model was used to simulate daily water temperature profiles through 2099. All future climate scenarios projected increased water temperature throughout the water column and a substantive reduction in the frequency of deep ventilation events. The least extreme scenario projected the frequency of deep ventilation events to decrease from about 1 in 2 years in current conditions to about 1 in 3 years by 2100. The most extreme scenario considered projected the frequency of deep ventilation events to be about 1 in 7.7 years by 2100. All scenarios predicted that the temperature of the entire water column will be greater than 4 °C for increasing lengths of time in the future and that the conditions required for thermobaric instability induced mixing will become rare or non-existent.

The disruption of deep ventilation by itself does not provide a complete picture of the potential ecological and water quality consequences of warming climate to Crater Lake. Estimating the effect of warming climate on deep water oxygen depletion and water clarity will require careful modeling studies to combine the physical mixing processes affected by the atmosphere with the multitude of factors affecting the growth of algae and corresponding water clarity.

Suggested Citation

Wood, T.M., Wherry, S.A., Piccolroaz, S., and Girdner, S.F., 2016, Simulation of deep ventilation in Crater Lake, Oregon, 1951–2099: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5046, 43 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • One-Dimensional Lake Temperature Modeling
  • Results of Future Climate Scenarios
  • Comparisons to Future-Climate Studies of Other Lakes
  • Conclusions
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Simulation of deep ventilation in Crater Lake, Oregon, 1951–2099
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Oregon Water Science Center
vii, 43 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Crater Lake
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):