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Predicting the Frequency of Dangerously Warm Epilimnion Temperatures of Stoney Creek’s Off-Channel Pond

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Author: Pan, Melvin
Among the many water quality indices which influence fish distribution, water temperature is one of the most important parameter (Richter and Kolmes, 2005). In lake and coastal ecosystems, diurnal temperature cycles are regularly disturbed by seasonal and anthropogenic changes in the environment (Konecki et. al, 1995). Seasonal changes such as strong summer solar radiation can cause lakes, streams, and ponds to heat up; anthropogenic changes such as deforestation of streamside vegetation can as well increase radiation incident on surface waters (Konecki et. al, 1995). One of the many concerns associated with hotter summer weather is thermal stratification, a phenomenon which is known to negatively affect species assemblages at the population level (Carter, 2005).In order to protect native fish species from thermal stratification in Stoney Creek’s pond, this appraisal’s purpose is to predict summer epilimnion temperatures so that mitigative actions may be taken beforehand. From 6 hours of semi-continuous air-water temperature monitoring in the off-channel pond, three linear equations representing the air-water interface were derived from simple regression. The three models were based off of three individual sites along the pond, each varying in shade and depth. Results indicated that shade and depth are negligible variables when considering surface water temperatures, thus two of the three models were disregarded. Model 1 found that air temperatures of 27.3oC or higher above the off-channel pond correlate with dangerously warm pond temperatures (in respect to salmonids). 7 years of climate records were then sifted through to find the proportion of summer days exceeding the predicted critical air temperatures. Climate records expect 2.6 days in June, 6.1 days in July, and 6.3 days in August to have dangerously warm water temperatures (Glenayre Climate Station 2004-2010).
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