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Cyclic heliothermal behaviour of the shallow, hypersaline Lake Hayward, Western Australia

April 17, 2018

Lake Hayward is one of only about 30 hypersaline lakes worldwide that is meromictic and heliothermal and as such behaves as a natural salt gradient solar pond. Lake Hayward acts as a local groundwater sink, resulting in seasonally variable hypersaline lake water with total dissolved solids (TDS) in the upper layer (mixolimnion) ranging between 56 kg m−3 and 207 kg m−3 and the deeper layer (monimolimnion) from 153 kg m−3 to 211 kg m−3. This is up to six times the salinity of seawater and thus has the highest salinity of all eleven lakes in the Yalgorup National Park lake system. A program of continuously recorded water temperature profiles has shown that salinity stratification initiated by direct rainfall onto the lake’s surface and local runoff into the lake results in the onset of heliothermal conditions within hours of rainfall onset.

The lake alternates between being fully mixed and becoming thermally and chemically stratified several times during the annual cycle, with the longest extended periods of heliothermal behaviour lasting 23 and 22 weeks in the winters of 1992 and 1993 respectively. The objective was to quantify the heat budgets of the cyclical heliothermal behaviour of Lake Hayward.

During the period of temperature profile logging, the maximum recorded temperature of the monimolimnion was 42.6 °C at which time the temperature of the mixolimnion was 29.4 °C.

The heat budget of two closed heliothermal cycles initiated by two rainfall events of 50 mm and 52 mm in 1993 were analysed. The cycles prevailed for 11 and 20 days respectively and the heat budget showed net heat accumulations of 34.2 MJ m−3 and 15.4 MJ m−3, respectively. The corresponding efficiencies of lake heat gain to incident solar energy were 0.17 and 0.18 respectively. Typically, artificial salinity gradient solar ponds (SGSP) have a solar radiation capture efficiencies ranging from 0.10 up to 0.30. Results from Lake Hayward have implications for comparative biogeochemistry and its characteristics should aid in identification of other hitherto unknown heliothermal lakes.

Publication Year 2018
Title Cyclic heliothermal behaviour of the shallow, hypersaline Lake Hayward, Western Australia
DOI 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.03.056
Authors Jeffrey V. Turner, Michael R. Rosen, Lee Coshell, Robert J. Woodbury
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Hydrology
Index ID 70196561
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of the Associate Director for Water