Impact of lake level change on deep-water renewal and oxic conditions in deep saline Lake Van, Turkey

Kaden H., Peeters F., Lorke A., Kipfer R., Tomonaga Y., Karabiyikoglu M.

WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, vol.46, 2010 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1029/2009wr008555
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


[1] Changes in the hydrological regime of the saline closed basin Lake Van, a large, deep lake in eastern Turkey, resulted in a lake level increase by about 2 m between 1988 and 1995, followed by a 1.5 m decrease until 2003 and a relatively constant lake level thereafter. Based on measurements of transient tracers (sulfur hexafluoride, CFC-12, (3)H, (3)He, (4)He, Ne), dissolved oxygen, light transmission, conductivity-temperature-depth profiles, and thermistor data, we investigate the implications associated with lake level fluctuations for deep-water renewal and oxygenation. Our data suggest that deep-water renewal was significantly reduced in Lake Van between 1990 and 2005. This change in mixing conditions resulted in the formation of a more than 100 m thick anoxic deep-water body below 325 m depth. Apparently, the freshwater inflows responsible for the lake level rise between 1988 and 1995 decreased the salinity of the surface water sufficiently that the generation of density plumes during winter cooling was substantially reduced compared to that in the years before the lake level rise. Significant renewal and oxygenation of the deep water did not occur until at least 2005, although by 2003 the lake level was back to almost the same level as in 1988. This study suggests that short-term changes in the hydrological regime, resulting in lake level changes of a couple of meters, can lead to significant and long-lasting changes in deep-water renewal and oxic conditions in deep saline lakes.