An Investigation of the Thermal and Energy Balance Regimes of Great Slave and Great Bear Lakes

Wayne R. Rouse School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Search for other papers by Wayne R. Rouse in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Peter D. Blanken Department of Geography, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Search for other papers by Peter D. Blanken in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Normand Bussières Meteorological Service of Canada, Downsview, Ontario, Canada

Search for other papers by Normand Bussières in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Anne E. Walker Meteorological Service of Canada, Downsview, Ontario, Canada

Search for other papers by Anne E. Walker in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Claire J. Oswald Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Search for other papers by Claire J. Oswald in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
William M. Schertzer National Water Research Institute, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

Search for other papers by William M. Schertzer in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Christopher Spence Environment Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Search for other papers by Christopher Spence in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

Abstract

Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake have large surface areas, water volumes, and high latitudinal positions; are cold and deep; and are subject to short daylight periods in winter and long ones in summer. They are dissimilar hydrologically. Great Slave Lake is part of the Mackenzie Basin flowthrough system. Great Bear Lake is hydrologically isolated in its own relatively small drainage basin and all of its inflow and outflow derive from its immediate watershed. Great Slave Lake’s outflow into the Mackenzie River is more than 8 times that from Great Bear Lake. Input from the south via the Slave River provides 82% of this outflow volume. These hydrological differences exert pronounced effects on the thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, and surface climates of each lake. The quantitative results in this study are based on limited datasets from different years that are normalized to allow comparison between the two lakes. They indicate that both lakes have regional annual air temperatures within 2°C of one another, but Great Slave Lake exhibits a much longer open-water period with higher temperatures than Great Bear Lake. During the period when the lakes are warming, each lake exerts a substantial overlake atmospheric cooling, and in the period when the lakes are cooling, each exerts a strong overlake warming. This local cooling and warming cycle is greatest over Great Bear Lake. Temperature and humidity inversions are frequent early in the lake-warming season and very strong lapse gradients occur late in the lake-cooling season. Annually, for both lakes, early ice breakup is matched with late freeze-up. Conversely, late breakup is matched with early freeze-up. The magnitudes of midlake latent heat fluxes (evaporation) and sensible heat fluxes from Great Slave Lake are substantially larger than those from Great Bear Lake during their respective open-water periods. The hypothesis that because they are both large and deep, and are located in high latitudes, Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake will exhibit similar surface and near-surface climates that are typical of large lakes in the high latitudes proves invalid because their different hydrological systems impose very different thermodynamic regimes on the two lakes. Additionally, such an extensive north-flowing river system as the Mackenzie is subjected to latitudinally variable meteorological regimes that will differentially influence the hydrology and energy balance of these large lakes. Great Slave Lake is very responsive to climatic variability because of the relation between lake ice and absorbed solar radiation in the high sun season and we expect that Great Bear Lake will be affected in a similar fashion.

Corresponding author address: Wayne R. Rouse, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada. Email: rouse@univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca

Abstract

Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake have large surface areas, water volumes, and high latitudinal positions; are cold and deep; and are subject to short daylight periods in winter and long ones in summer. They are dissimilar hydrologically. Great Slave Lake is part of the Mackenzie Basin flowthrough system. Great Bear Lake is hydrologically isolated in its own relatively small drainage basin and all of its inflow and outflow derive from its immediate watershed. Great Slave Lake’s outflow into the Mackenzie River is more than 8 times that from Great Bear Lake. Input from the south via the Slave River provides 82% of this outflow volume. These hydrological differences exert pronounced effects on the thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, and surface climates of each lake. The quantitative results in this study are based on limited datasets from different years that are normalized to allow comparison between the two lakes. They indicate that both lakes have regional annual air temperatures within 2°C of one another, but Great Slave Lake exhibits a much longer open-water period with higher temperatures than Great Bear Lake. During the period when the lakes are warming, each lake exerts a substantial overlake atmospheric cooling, and in the period when the lakes are cooling, each exerts a strong overlake warming. This local cooling and warming cycle is greatest over Great Bear Lake. Temperature and humidity inversions are frequent early in the lake-warming season and very strong lapse gradients occur late in the lake-cooling season. Annually, for both lakes, early ice breakup is matched with late freeze-up. Conversely, late breakup is matched with early freeze-up. The magnitudes of midlake latent heat fluxes (evaporation) and sensible heat fluxes from Great Slave Lake are substantially larger than those from Great Bear Lake during their respective open-water periods. The hypothesis that because they are both large and deep, and are located in high latitudes, Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake will exhibit similar surface and near-surface climates that are typical of large lakes in the high latitudes proves invalid because their different hydrological systems impose very different thermodynamic regimes on the two lakes. Additionally, such an extensive north-flowing river system as the Mackenzie is subjected to latitudinally variable meteorological regimes that will differentially influence the hydrology and energy balance of these large lakes. Great Slave Lake is very responsive to climatic variability because of the relation between lake ice and absorbed solar radiation in the high sun season and we expect that Great Bear Lake will be affected in a similar fashion.

Corresponding author address: Wayne R. Rouse, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada. Email: rouse@univmail.cis.mcmaster.ca

Save
  • Austin, J. A., and Colman S. M. , 2007: Lake Superior summer water temperatures are increasing more rapidly than regional air temperatures: A positive ice–albedo feedback. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34 .L06604, doi:10.1029/2006GL029021.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blanken, P. D., and Coauthors, 2000: Eddy covariance measurements of evaporation from Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada. Water Resour. Res., 36 , 10691078.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blanken, P. D., Rouse W. R. , and Schertzer W. M. , 2003: The enhancement of evaporation from a large northern lake by the entrainment of warm, dry air. J. Hydrometeor., 4 , 680693.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blanken, P. D., Rouse W. R. , and Schertzer W. M. , 2008: The time-scales of evaporation from Great Slave Lake. Hydrologic Processes, Vol. 2, Cold Region Atmospheric and Hydrologic Studies: The Mackenzie GEWEX Experience, M.-K. Woo, Ed., Springer, 181–196.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bussières, N., and Schertzer W. M. , 2003: The evolution of AVHRR-derived water temperatures over lakes in the Mackenzie Basin and hydrometeorological applications. J. Hydrometeor., 4 , 660672.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chang, K. M., and Fu Y. , 2002: Interdecadal variations in Northern Hemisphere winter storm track intensity. J. Climate, 15 , 642658.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duguay, C. R., Flato G. M. , Jeffries M. O. , Ménard P. , Morris K. , and Rouse W. R. , 2002: Ice cover variability on shallow lakes at high latitudes: Model simulations and observations. Hydrol. Processes, 17 , 34653483.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Duguay, C. R., Prowse T. D. , Bonsal B. R. , Brown R. D. , Lacroix M. P. , and Ménard P. , 2006: Recent trends in Canadian lake ice cover. Hydrol. Processes, 20 , 781801.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gibson, J. J., Prowse T. D. , and Peters D. L. , 2006: Hydroclimatic controls on water balance and water level variability in Great Slave Lake. Hydrol. Processes, 20 , 41554172.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnson, L., 1975: Physical and chemical characteristics of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories. J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can., 32 , 19711987.

  • Johnson, L., 1994: Great Bear Lake. The Book of Canadian Lakes, Monogr. Series, No. 3, Canadian Association on Water Quality, 549–559.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Leon, L. F., Lam D. C. L. , Schertzer W. M. , and Swayne D. , 2005: Lake and climate models linkage: A 3-D hydrodynamic contribution. Advances in Geoscience, Vol. 4, Academic Press, 57–62.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ménard, P., Duguay C. R. , Flato G. M. , and Rouse W. R. , 2002: Simulation of ice phenology on Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada. Hydrol. Processes, 16 , 36913706.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oswald, C. J., and Rouse W. R. , 2004: Thermal characteristics and energy balance of various-size Canadian Shield lakes in the Mackenzie River Basin. J. Hydrometeor., 5 , 129144.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rouse, W. R., Oswald C. J. , Binyamin J. , Blanken P. D. , Schertzer W. M. , and Spence C. , 2003a: Interannual and seasonal variability of the surface energy balance and temperature of central Great Slave Lake. J. Hydrometeor., 4 , 720730.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rouse, W. R., and Coauthors, 2003b: Energy and water cycles in a high-latitude, north-flowing river system: Summary of results from the Mackenzie GEWEX study—Phase 1. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84 , 7387.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rouse, W. R., Oswald C. J. , Binyamin J. , Spence C. , Schertzer W. M. , Blanken P. D. , Bussières N. , and Duguay C. R. , 2005: The role of northern lakes in a regional energy balance. J. Hydrometeor., 6 , 291305.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schertzer, W. M., Rouse W. R. , and Blanken P. D. , 2000: Cross-lake variation of physical limnological and climatological processes of Great Slave Lake. Phys. Geogr., 21 , 385406.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schertzer, W. M., Rouse W. R. , Blanken P. D. , and Walker A. E. , 2003: Above-lake meteorology, thermal response, heat content, and estimate of the bulk heat exchange of Great Slave Lake during CAGES (1998–99). J. Hydrometeor., 4 , 649659.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schertzer, W. M., Rouse W. R. , Blanken P. D. , Walker A. E. , Lam D. C. L. , and Leon L. , 2008: Interannual variability in heat and mass exchange and thermal components of Great Slave Lake. Hydrologic Processes, Vol. 2, Cold Region Atmospheric and Hydrologic Studies: The Mackenzie GEWEX Experience, M.-K. Woo, Ed., Springer, 197–220.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Serreze, M. C., and Francis J. A. , 2006: The Arctic amplification debate 2006. Climatic Change, 76 , 241264.

  • Shuttleworth, W. J., Gash J. H. C. , Lloyd D. , McNeil D. D. , Moore C. J. , and Wallace J. S. , 1988: An integrated micrometeorological system for evaporation measurements. Agric. For. Meteor., 43 , 295317.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thompson, D. W. J., and Wallace J. M. , 2001: Regional climate impacts of the Northern Hemisphere annular mode. Science, 293 , 8589. doi:10.1126/science.1058958.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walker, A., Silis A. , Metcalf J. R. , Davey M. R. , Brown R. D. , and Goodison B. E. , 2000: Snow cover and lake ice determination in the MAGS region using passive microwave satellite and conventional data. Proc. Fifth Scientific Workshop for the Mackenzie GEWEX Study, Edmonton, AB, Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and Environment Canada, 39–42. [Available from MAGS Secretariat, NWRI, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 3H5, Canada.].

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 768 221 24
PDF Downloads 498 144 14