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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-435
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Aug 2018

Research article | 24 Aug 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Estimating the effect of rainfall on the surface temperature of a tropical lake

Gabriel Gerard Rooney1, Nicole van Lipzig2, and Wim Thiery3,4 Gabriel Gerard Rooney et al.
  • 1Met Office, FitzRoy Road, Exeter, EX1 3PB, UK
  • 2KU Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
  • 3ETH Zurich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Universitaetstrasse 16, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 4Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

Abstract. We make use of a unique high-quality, long-term observational dataset on a tropical lake to assess the effect of rainfall on lake surface temperature. The lake in question is Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes, and was selected for its remarkably uniform climate and availability of multi-year, over-lake meteorological observations. Rain may have a cooling effect on the lake surface by lowering the near-surface air temperature, by the direct rain heat flux into the lake, by mixing the lake surface layer through the flux of kinetic energy, and by convective mixing of the lake surface layer. The potential importance of the rainfall effect is discussed in terms of both heat flux and kinetic-energy flux. To estimate the rainfall effect on the mean diurnal cycle of lake surface temperature, the data are binned into categories of daily rainfall amount. They are further filtered based on comparable values of daily mean net radiation, which reduces the influence of radiative-flux differences. Our results indicate that days with heavy rainfall may experience a reduction in lake surface temperature of approximately 0.3K by the end of the day compared to days with light-to-moderate rainfall. Overall this study highlights a new potential control on lake surface temperature, and suggests that further efforts are needed to quantify this effect in other regions and to include this process in atmospheric models.

Gabriel Gerard Rooney et al.
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Gabriel Gerard Rooney et al.
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This paper uses a unique observational dataset of a tropical African lake (L. Kivu) to assess the effect of rain on lake surface temperature. Data from 4 years were categorised by daily rain amount and total net radiation, to show that heavy rain may reduce the end-of-day lake temperature by approx 0.3 K. This is important since lake surface temperature may influence local weather on short timescales, but the effect of rain on lake temperature has been little studied or parametrised previously.
This paper uses a unique observational dataset of a tropical African lake (L. Kivu) to assess...
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