Stratification in a reservoir mixed by bubble plumes under future climate scenarios

David Birt, Danielle Wain, Emily Slavin, Jun Zang, Robert Luckwell, Lee D. Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During summer, reservoir stratification can negatively impact source water quality. Mixing via bubble plumes (i.e., destratification) aims to minimise this. Within Blagdon Lake, a UK drinking water reservoir, a bubble plume system was found to be insufficient for maintaining homogeneity during a 2017 heatwave based on two in situ temperature chains. Air temperature will increase under future climate change which will affect stratification; this raises questions over the future applicability of these plumes. To evaluate bubble-plume performance now and in the future, AEM3D was used to simulate reservoir mixing. Calibration and validation were done on in situ measurements. The model performed well with a root mean squared error of 0.53 C. Twelve future meteorological scenarios from the UK Climate Projection 2018 were taken and down-scaled to sub-daily values to simulate lake response to future summer periods. The down-scaling methods, based on diurnal patterns, showed mixed results. Future model runs covered five-year intervals from 2030 to 2080. Mixing events, mean water temperatures, and Schmidt stability were evaluated. Eight scenarios showed a significant increase in water temperature, with two of these scenarios showing significant decrease in mixing events. None showed a significant increase in energy requirements. Results suggest that future climate scenarios may not alter the stratification regime; however, the warmer water may favour growth conditions for certain species of cyanobacteria and accelerate sedimentary oxygen consumption. There is some evidence of the lake changing from polymictic to a more monomictic nature. The results demonstrate bubble plumes are unlikely to maintain water column homogeneity under future climates. Modelling artificial mixing systems under future climates is a powerful tool to inform system design and reservoir management including requirements to prevent future source water quality degradation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2467
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • 3D modelling
  • Bubble plumes
  • Stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

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