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Understanding the factors associated with long-term reconstructed turbidity in Lake Diefenbaker from Landsat-imagery
Science of the Total Environment ( IF 5.589 ) Pub Date : 2020-03-25 , DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138222
Oghenemise Abirhire; John-Mark Davies; Xulin Guo; Jeff Hudson

Turbidity affects a variety of aquatic ecosystem processes. Turbidity events are dominated by suspended sediment in many systems. High levels of suspended sediment in lakes can occur during periods of high inflows from turbid tributaries or suspension of sediment from lake beds. This study reconstructed historic turbidity levels using Landsat-imagery on Lake Diefenbaker (LD), a large river-reservoir constructed in the late 1960's on the naturally turbid South Saskatchewan River (SSR). We examined the factors that were associated with it. Reconstructed turbidity levels, from Landsat-images, were similar to actual turbidity. The SSR flow and wind speed explained 64%, 54% and 69% of the variability in estimated turbidity levels at the riverine zone, the transition zone and the entire reservoir, respectively. The decrease in estimated turbidity from June to October and down the length of the reservoir is likely associated with the decline in the SSR flow and the settling of suspended sediments. The relationship between estimated turbidity and wind speed may be associated with the re-suspension of bottom sediment at the upper reach of LD. Wind speed and direction were related to estimated turbidity at the lacustrine zone (r2adj = 0.19, P < 0.05), which may be attributed to the persistence of sediments. We observed high turbidity in 2002 that exceeded other estimates of turbidity. Since 2002 was preceded by a prolonged drought, the high estimate turbidity may be related to an increase in sediment loads from the SSR flow and an increase in shoreline erosion from a rise in LD's water level. Hence, extreme events (drought and flooding) are associated with high turbidity in LD. As the Canadian Prairies continues to undergo climate change, lakes located in this region are predicted to experience more frequent extreme events. These extreme events will cause further deterioration of water quality.
更新日期:2020-03-26

 

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