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Predicting Secchi disk depth from average beam attenuation in a deep, ultra-clear lake

January 1, 2007

We addressed potential sources of error in estimating the water clarity of mountain lakes by investigating the use of beam transmissometer measurements to estimate Secchi disk depth. The optical properties Secchi disk depth (SD) and beam transmissometer attenuation (BA) were measured in Crater Lake (Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA) at a designated sampling station near the maximum depth of the lake. A standard 20 cm black and white disk was used to measure SD. The transmissometer light source had a nearly monochromatic wavelength of 660 nm and a path length of 25 cm. We created a SD prediction model by regression of the inverse SD of 13 measurements recorded on days when environmental conditions were acceptable for disk deployment with BA averaged over the same depth range as the measured SD. The relationship between inverse SD and averaged BA was significant and the average 95% confidence interval for predicted SD relative to the measured SD was ??1.6 m (range = -4.6 to 5.5 m) or ??5.0%. Eleven additional sample dates tested the accuracy of the predictive model. The average 95% confidence interval for these sample dates was ??0.7 m (range = -3.5 to 3.8 m) or ??2.2%. The 1996-2000 time-series means for measured and predicted SD varied by 0.1 m, and the medians varied by 0.5 m. The time-series mean annual measured and predicted SD's also varied little, with intra-annual differences between measured and predicted mean annual SD ranging from -2.1 to 0.1 m. The results demonstrated that this prediction model reliably estimated Secchi disk depths and can be used to significantly expand optical observations in an environment where the conditions for standardized SD deployments are limited. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Publication Year 2007
Title Predicting Secchi disk depth from average beam attenuation in a deep, ultra-clear lake
DOI 10.1007/s10750-006-0349-z
Authors G.L. Larson, R.L. Hoffman, B.R. Hargreaves, R.W. Collier
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Hydrobiologia
Index ID 70033162
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center