Submitted as: model evaluation paper
19 Jul 2022
Submitted as: model evaluation paper | 19 Jul 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Basin-scale gyres and mesoscale eddies in large lakes: A novel procedure for their detection and characterization, assessed in Lake Geneva

Seyed Mahmood Hamze-Ziabari1, Ulrich Lemmin1, Frédéric Soulignac1,2, Mehrshad Foroughan1, and David Andrew Barry1 Seyed Mahmood Hamze-Ziabari et al.
  • 1Ecological Engineering Laboratory (ECOL), Environmental Engineering Institute (IIE), Faculty of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Eaux du Léman (CIPEL), Nyon, Switzerland

Abstract. Gyres and eddies, i.e., large-scale rotating coherent water masses, are prominent features of large lakes and oceans, are formed due to the interplay between Coriolis force and wind stress. Understanding their dynamics is important as they are known to play a crucial role in spreading bio-chemical materials and energy throughout lakes and oceans. Since field observations in large lakes are sparse in time and location, often limited to a few moorings, they cannot provide a comprehensive validation dataset for such large-scale current systems. Previous numerical studies suggested the presence of different and complex gyre systems in many large lakes, however none were confirmed with detailed field measurements. In order to assess the spatial and temporal extent of gyres and eddies, their dynamics and vertical structure, as well as validate their prediction in numerical simulation results, transect field observations should be carried out. However, at present it is difficult to forecast when and where such transect field observations should be taken. To overcome this problem, a novel procedure combining 3D numerical simulations, statistical analyses, and remote sensing data was developed that permits determination of the spatial and temporal patterns of basin-scale gyres during different seasons. The efficiency and robustness of the proposed procedure was validated in Lake Geneva. For the first time in a lake, detailed field evidence of the existence of basin-scale gyres and (sub)mesoscale eddies was provided by data collected along transects whose locations were predetermined by the proposed procedure. The close correspondence between field observations and detailed numerical results further confirms the validity of the model for capturing large-scale current circulations as well as submesoscale eddies. The procedure can be applied to other large lakes and can be extended to the interaction of biological-chemical-physical processes.

Seyed Mahmood Hamze-Ziabari et al.

Status: open (until 13 Sep 2022)

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Seyed Mahmood Hamze-Ziabari et al.

Data sets

In-situ data Seyed Mahmood Hamze-Ziabari, Ulrich Lemmin, Frédéric Soulignac, Mehrshad Foroughan and David Andrew Barry

Model code and software

Codes Seyed Mahmood Hamze-Ziabari, Ulrich Lemmin, Frédéric Soulignac, Mehrshad Foroughan and David Andrew Barry

Seyed Mahmood Hamze-Ziabari et al.


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Short summary
A procedure combining numerical simulations, remote sensing, and statistical analyses is developed to detect large-scale current system in large lakes. By applying this novel procedure in Lake Geneva, strategies for detailed transect field studies of the gyres/eddies were developed. Unambiguous field evidence of 3D gyre/eddy structures in full agreement with predictions confirmed the robustness of the proposed procedure.