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Klug J.L.,Fairfield University | Richardson D.C.,State University of New York at New Paltz | Ewing H.A.,Bates College | Hargreaves B.R.,Lehigh University | And 7 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Here we document the regional effects of Tropical Cyclone Irene on thermal structure and ecosystem metabolism in nine lakes and reservoirs in northeastern North America using a network of high-frequency, in situ, automated sensors. Thermal stability declined within hours in all systems following passage of Irene, and the magnitude of change was related to the volume of water falling on the lake and catchment relative to lake volume. Across systems, temperature change predicted the change in primary production, but changes in mixed-layer thickness did not affect metabolism. Instead, respiration became a driver of ecosystem metabolism that was decoupled from in-lake primary production, likely due to addition of terrestrially derived carbon. Regionally, energetic disturbance of thermal structure was shorter-lived than disturbance from inflows of terrestrial materials. Given predicted regional increases in intense rain events with climate change, the magnitude and longevity of ecological impacts of these storms will be greater in systems with large catchments relative to lake volume, particularly when significant material is available for transport from the catchment. This case illustrates the power of automated sensor networks and associated human networks in assessing both system response and the characteristics that mediate physical and ecological responses to extreme events. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Pradhanang S.M.,City University of New York | Mukundan R.,City University of New York | Schneiderman E.M.,Water Quality Modeling | Zion M.S.,Water Quality Modeling | And 6 more authors.
Journal of the American Water Resources Association | Year: 2013

Recent works have indicated that climate change in the northeastern United States is already being observed in the form of shorter winters, higher annual average air temperature, and more frequent extreme heat and precipitation events. These changes could have profound effects on aquatic ecosystems, and the implications of such changes are less understood. The objective of this study was to examine how future changes in precipitation and temperature translate into changes in streamflow using a physically based semidistributed model, and subsequently how changes in streamflow could potentially impact stream ecology. Streamflow parameters were examined in a New York City water supply watershed for changes from model-simulated baseline conditions to future climate scenarios (2081-2100) for ecologically relevant factors of streamflow using the Indicators of Hydrologic Alterations tool. Results indicate that earlier snowmelt and reduced snowpack advance the timing and increase the magnitude of discharge in the winter and early spring (November-March) and greatly decrease monthly streamflow later in the spring in April. Both the rise and fall rates of the hydrograph will increase resulting in increased flashiness and flow reversals primarily due to increased pulses during winter seasons. These shifts in timing of peak flows, changes in seasonal flow regimes, and changes in the magnitudes of low flow can all influence aquatic organisms and have the potential to impact stream ecology. © 2013 American Water Resources Association.

Owens E.M.,Upstate Freshwater Institute | Gelda R.K.,Upstate Freshwater Institute | Effler S.W.,Upstate Freshwater Institute | Rusello P.J.,Cornell University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Environmental Engineering | Year: 2011

Enhancements to the two-dimensional lake and reservoir water quality model W2Tn to simulate the effects of currents and waves on sediment resuspension and turbidity are described. Bed stress attributable to currents was computed by the hydrothermal component of W2Tn, whereas a surface wave component was added to W2Tn to determine bed stress owing to waves. Resuspension flux is computed from bed stress and is included as a source of turbidity to the water column. The model is tested through application to Schoharie Reservoir, a drinking water supply that experiences episodes of elevated turbidity caused by runoff events and exacerbated by drawdown. Model predictions of bed stress attributed to currents are validated by using measurements obtained from acoustic Doppler instrumentation. The surface wave component of the model is established on a framework that has been previously validated for Schoharie Reservoir. Testing of the enhanced turbidity component of W2Tn was completed for a 3.5-year period of historical observations, which included a number of runoff events covering a range of severity and variations in reservoir drawdown. The enhanced model performed well in simulating observed conditions in the water column. The resuspension mechanism made a significant contribution to the predicted turbidity during periods of reservoir drawdown and during a severe runoff event. The model also performed well in simulating the observed turbidity of the drinking water withdrawal. Resuspension of particles contributing to turbidity was largely attributable to reservoir currents with surface wave-induced resuspension playing a smaller role. The potential application of this model to other water bodies and water quality issues is discussed. © 2011 American Society of Civil Engineers.

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