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Abnormal increase of Mn and TP concentrations in a temperate reservoir during fall overturn due to drought-induced drawdown

Qiu, Xiaopeng, Huang, Tinglin, Zeng, Mingzheng, Shi, Jianchao, Cao, Zhanhui, Zhou, Shilei
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.575 pp. 996-1004
El Nino, anaerobic conditions, drawdown, drought, global warming, lakes, manganese, monitoring, phosphorus, pollutants, rivers, summer, surface water, surveys, water quality, China
Due to global warming, some regions of Earth may face frequent and severe droughts in the future, leading to the deterioration of surface water quality. In this study, we investigated the effects of drought-induced drawdown on the water quality of the Zhoucun Reservoir, Shandong Province, East China, during the fall overturn. Field surveys were conducted during stratification (April–November) over three standard years 2012, 2013, and 2014, and over the El Niño event of 2015. Temporal and vertical variations of the physical and chemical indexes were investigated during monitoring. Results show that after the formation of stratification, the hypolimnion rapidly shifted to anaerobic conditions, with the accumulation of pollutants such as manganese (Mn) and total phosphorous (TP). Due to the extreme El Niño event in 2015, both the upper and lower metalimnion limits moved down along with the water level in summer, which resulted in the transfer of hypolimnion water to the metalimnion. In summer 2015, large amounts of pollutants were measured in the metalimnion: a phenomenon that did not occur at the same period of the standard years. At the beginning of the overturn in 2015, the water quality of the whole reservoir deteriorated when the metalimnion water shifted to the epilimnion. Mn and TP concentrations in the epilimnion reached 0.202mg/L and 0.086mg/L, respectively, which are significantly higher than those in the standard years. Although the tributary rivers entered the epilimnion of the reservoir during the overturn, Mn and TP concentrations of the inflow were only of 0.049–0.072mg/L and 0.033–0.047mg/L, respectively, indicating that these rivers were not the source of the high TP and high Mn concentrations in the epilimnion. Hence, we conclude that more attention should be paid to the metalimnion position and the vertical distribution of pollutants when studying lakes and reservoirs experiencing droughts.