Lake contamination models for evolution towards steady state



Most lakes are in an average steady state for water but contaminants may not yet have reached steady state or are gradually being flushed out in a clean-up program. The evolution towards steady state for fully mixed or stratified lakes can be described by basic equations of mass flow. The time-concentration paths for fully mixed lakes are asymptotic toward a steady state concentration, which is reached in about 6 contaminant residence times (and clean-up also takes about 6 residence times). Stratified lakes also evolve towards a whole-lake steady state concentration but show oscillating patterns of concentration versus time, with the amplitude and dampening period depending on the volume ratio of epilimnion to total lake volume. In most natural lakes, the compositional contrast between epilimnion and hypolimnion will become almost erased in 2-4 residence times. An acid lake in North-Patagonia is used as an example of contamination of a thermally stratified lake by volcanic effluents.



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lake contamination, physical lake models
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How to Cite
VAREKAMP JC. Lake contamination models for evolution towards steady state. J Limnol [Internet]. 2003 Sep. 1 [cited 2021 Jun. 25];62(s1):67-72. Available from:

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