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Hydrological Processes

  1. Jörg Imberger

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.val001

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Imberger, J. 2006. Lakes. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 2.

Author Information

  1. University of Western Australia, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


The understanding of lake hydrodynamics has made much progress in the past 20 years and a broad, holistic overview now exists. However, it is still difficult for the general limnological practitioner to gain a quantitative description of the hydrodynamical regimes active in a particular lake at a particular time. Such an overview is important because the mixing and transport processes operating in a lake determine, to a large degree, the ecological response of the lake to meteorological forcing, inflows and outflows. In the field of hydraulics a well established methodology exists, based on the Reynolds and Froude numbers, which allows characterization of flows into laminar or turbulent and super- or subcritical. Once classified in this way, many attributes of the flow immediately follow. In this article, the author attempts to provide an analogous first order methodology that will allow the practitioner to classify the hydrodynamic regimes operating in a lake. Such a classification scheme should allow the limnologist to put his or her ecological data into an appropriate physical context. This contribution considers the parameterization of the dynamics of the surface layer, the internal wave regimes, the inflow dynamics, the behavior of a selective withdrawal layer, and mixing in the interior of the lake.