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The long-term (1979-2005) effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation on wind-induced wave mixing in Loch Leven (Scotland)

By Bryan M. Spears and Ian D. Jones

Abstract

We report on long-term covariation (1979-2005) between indices of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and wind speed and direction in Loch Leven. The effects of the observed variations in wind speed and direction were combined to produce modelled wave mixed depths (Zc). Positive correlations were observed between seasonal and annual wind speeds, and westerly frequency, and indices of the NAO that are in line with general perception: positive NAO was correlated with stronger, more westerly winds and these effects were strongest in winter and spring. Correlations between NAO and estimates of Zc were strongest in the most westerly exposed site in spring (r2 = 0.701; Zcspring versus spring NAO index). On average, over a 25-year period Zc was deeper in spring and shallower in summer. Major anomalies from the 25-year seasonal means were observed in 1982, 1979, and 1991. Annual average Zc was low in the late 1970s and early 1980s (shallowest average annual Zc of 1.0 m (1984)), high in the late 1980s and early 1990s (deepest average annual Zc of 1.9 m (1990)) and moderate in recent years (up to 2005). This work has major implications for our understanding of potential climate change drivers and the related responses of shallow lake ecosystems, including alterations to littoral habitat quality and benthic-pelagic coupling. \u

Topics: Ecology and Environment
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s10750-010-0188-9
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:9642
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