Sixty years since the creation of Lake Kariba: Thermal and oxygen dynamics in the riverine and lacustrine sub-basins

Autoři: Elisa Calamita aff001;  Martin Schmid aff002;  Manuel Kunz aff002;  Mzime Regina Ndebele-Murisa aff003;  Christopher H. D. Magadza aff004;  Imasiku Nyambe aff005;  Bernhard Wehrli aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland aff001;  Eawag, Surface Waters—Research and Management, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Kastanienbaum, Switzerland aff002;  Department of Freshwater and Fishery Sciences, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe aff003;  Department of Biological Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe aff004;  School of Mines, UNZA, Lusaka, Zambia aff005
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224679


The current boom of dam construction at low latitudes endangers the integrity and function of major tropical river systems. A deeper understanding of the physical and chemical functioning of tropical reservoirs is essential to mitigate dam-related impacts. However, the development of predictive tools is hampered by a lack of consistent data on physical mixing and biogeochemistry of tropical reservoirs. In this study, we focus on Lake Kariba (Southern Africa), the largest artificial lake in the world by volume. Kariba Dam forms a transboundary reservoir between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and therefore its management represents a socio-politically sensitive issue because the Kariba Dam operation completely changed the downstream hydrological regime. Although Lake Kariba represents a unique and scientifically interesting case study, there is no consistent dataset documenting its physical and chemical behaviour over time. This limits the scope for quantitative studies of this reservoir and its downstream impacts. To address this research gap, we aggregated a consistent database of in situ measurements of temperature and oxygen depth profiles for the entire 60 years of Lake Kariba’s lifetime and performed a detailed statistical analysis of the thermal and oxygen regime of the artificial lake to classify the different behaviours of the lake’s sub-basins. We demonstrate that the seasonal stratification strongly depends on the depth of the water column and on the distance from the lake inflow. Satellite data confirm these spatiotemporal variations in surface temperature, and reveal a consistent longitudinal warming trend of the lake surface water temperature of about 1.5°C from the inflow to the dam. Finally, our results suggest that the stratification dynamics of the lacustrine sub-basins have the potential to alter the downstream Zambezi water quality. Future research should focus on assessing such alterations and developing strategies to mitigate them.

Klíčová slova:

Lakes – Oxygen – Rivers – Surface water – Water columns – Water quality – Dissolved oxygen – Surface temperature


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Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11