Contribution of extreme meteorological forcing to vertical mixing in a small, shallow subtropical lake

  • Nobuaki Kimura | Kyushu University, Department of Civil Engineering, Japan.
  • Wen-Cheng Liu National United University, Department of Civil and Disaster Prevention Engineering, Taiwan, Province of China.
  • Jeng-Wei Tsai China Medical University, Department of Biological Science and Technology, Taiwan, Province of China.
  • Chih-Yu Chiu Academia Sinica, Research Centre for Biodiversity, Taiwan, Province of China.
  • Timothy K. Kratz University of Wisconsin-Madison, Trout Lake Station, United States.
  • Akira Tai Kyushu University, Department of Civil Engineering, Japan.


Studying mixing processes in a stratified lake is important for understanding the biological, chemical and physical processes occurring there. Statistical analyses were performed of data from a small, shallow, stratified lake in a subtropical alpine region (Yuan-Yang Lake in Taiwan) to determine the predominant physical factors in heavy-rainfall-induced mixing. This study focused on both vertical mixing in the entire water column and surface-layer mixing extending to the upper thermocline. The effects of meteorological driving forces, such as wind, heating/cooling and inflow on vertical mixing and surface layer mixing, were evaluated using the relationships between each driving force and the change in thermal stability between the pre-mixing and mixing periods. For surface layer mixing, a comparison between penetrative convection related to heating/cooling and wind-related friction velocity was conducted for each heavy rainfall event. A heat content parameter measuring thermal potential energy was introduced to further investigate inflow effects (e.g. effects of changes in discharge volume and temperature) on vertical mixing during heavy rainfall events. Results show that wind input affected vertical mixing more significantly than did other meteorological forcing factors during storm-dominant events. Indeed, wind energy input in the surface layer was more pronounced than was energy of heating/cooling for surface layer mixing. Furthermore, inflow effect was shown to be crucial during large scale and extreme weather events (i.e. lower air pressure events) in the vertical mixing process. Forcing by heating/cooling likely contributes less to mixing because it is likely less dynamic than the wind and inflow inputs with respect to internal response of the lake. In addition, a principal component analysis (PCA) modified by partial correlation was performed to verify the results quantitatively. The first and second components, which accounted for more than 90% of the total variance in the PCA, showed that the intensity of vertical mixing was affected primarily by wind-induced turbulence and inflow intrusion and was only weakly associated with the effect of net heat balance. Considering the interactions between chemical and physical processes, inflow intrusion may have an effect on dissolved oxygen concentration in the lake.



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Author Biography

Nobuaki Kimura, Kyushu University, Department of Civil Engineering

Department of Civil Engineering,

Posdoc fellow

Original Articles
Supporting Agencies
Taiwan National Science Council, Taiwan Academia Sinica, Japan KAKENHI.
Mixing, heat content, Schmidt stability, PCA, subtropical, small lake.
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How to Cite
Kimura N, Liu W-C, Tsai J-W, Chiu C-Y, Kratz TK, Tai A. Contribution of extreme meteorological forcing to vertical mixing in a small, shallow subtropical lake. J Limnol [Internet]. 2016Oct.31 [cited 2021May16];76(1). Available from: