Thermal structure of a multibasin lake: influence of morphometry, interbasin exchange, and groundwater.
Interbasin differences which develop below the upper mixed layer in small multibasin lakes provide the unique opportunity to examine how a lake’s morphometry affects the rates of certain processes and the distribution of certain physical, chemical, and biological parameters without the confounding inter-lake dissimilarities encountered when examining different lakes. To determine if the variability in basin morphometry can be the primary factor causing interbasin differences, we examined the thermal structure of Trout Lake, Wisconsin, during summer and winter stratification and quantitatively explained the observed differences in temperature among basins. Differences in hypolimnetic temperature during summer stratification and differences in the temperature of the entire water column in the winter were primarily due to the morphometric differences among basins. During winter, variations in the temperature among basins were also influenced by interbasin exchange and differences in groundwater inputs. Therefore, this multibasin lake can provide the opportunity to test for morphometric affects without the confounding inter-lake dissimilarities encountered when examining different lakes.