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Effects of internal loading on phosphorus distribution in the Taihu Lake driven by wind waves and lake currents

Huang, Lei, Fang, Hongwei, He, Guojian, Jiang, Helong, Wang, Changhui
Environmental pollution 2016 v.219 pp. 760-773
ecosystems, eutrophication, hydrodynamics, lakes, models, phosphorus, remediation, sediment transport, sediments, summer, suspended sediment, water quality, water waves, wind direction, wind speed, winter, China
Wind-driven sediment resuspension exerts significant effects on the P behavior in shallow lake ecosystems. In this study, a comprehensive dynamic phosphorus (P) model that integrates hydrodynamic, wind wave and sediment transport is proposed to assess the importance of internal P cycling due to sediment resuspension on water column P levels. The primary contribution of the model is detailed modeling and rigorous coupling of sediment and P dynamics. The proposed model is applied to predict the P behavior in the shallow Taihu Lake, which is the third largest lake in China, and quantitatively estimate the effects of wind waves and lake currents on P release and distribution. Both the prevailing southeast winds in summer and northwest winds in winter are applied for the simulation, and different wind speeds of 5 m/s and 10 m/s are also considered. Results show that sediment resuspension and the resulting P release have a dominant effect on P levels in Taihu Lake, and likely similar shallow lakes. Wind-driven waves at higher wind speeds significantly enhance sediment resuspension and suspended sediment concentration (SSC). Total P concentration in the water column is also increased but not in proportion to the SSC. The different lake circulations resulting from the different prevailing wind directions also affect the distribution of suspended sediment and P around the lake ultimately influencing where eutrophication is likely to occur. The proposed model demonstrates that internal cycling in the lake is a dominant factor in the lake P and must be considered when trying to manage water quality in this and similar lakes. The model is used to demonstrate the potential effectiveness of remediation of an area where historical releases have led to P accumulation on overall lake quality.