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

Rooney, Gabriel Gerard; van Lipzig, Nicole; Thiery, Wim

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 0.3‚ÄČK 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 land surface models used for atmospheric prediction.

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Rooney, Gabriel Gerard / van Lipzig, Nicole / Thiery, Wim: Estimating the effect of rainfall on the surface temperature of a tropical lake. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Gabriel Gerard Rooney et al.

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