Temperature, heat content, mixing and stability in Lake Orta: a pluriannual investigation
AbstractThis paper describes the overall state of some physical phenomena occurring in Lake Orta, such as thermal stratification and destratification, accumulation and release of heat, vertical winter mixing, and stability of the water mass. The historical series of temperature distribution along the water column in the period 1984-1999, from which the holo-oligomictic character of Lake Orta emerges, is analysed. The monthly evaluation of the heat contents metre by metre from 0 to 143 m depth reveals how the complete winter mixing occurs only when the energy present within the whole column is less than 1,675 MJ m-2; above this value the circulation is only partial, as in the other deep subalpine lakes. A water layer in the deep hypolimnion has been shown to contain a climatic memory, which has generally increased since 1981. Walker’s stability analysis has revealed that when at a depth below 90 metres there is a level where 0.07 J m-2 are exceeded, total mixing cannot take place. In contrast, the Birgean work identifies, during the heating phase, the layers of the lake where energy is stored or lost.
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