A system developed at The University of Western Australia will be deployed at picturesque Lake Iseo in the alpine Lombardy region of northern Italy to enable an international team to determine the effects of climate and land-use change.
Director of UWA's Centre for Water Research, Professor Jörg Imberger, and his colleague Assistant Professor Clelia Luisa Marti will be in Italy from July 15 to 30. They will use the Real-time Management System (RMS), developed at the Centre and being used at several sites around the world.
Professor Imberger said the objective of the field experiment was three fold: "First, deep lakes in the world are undergoing a fundamental change as climate change warms the inflowing waters and land use changes increase nutrient loading.
"Second, our understanding of how deep lakes function is still in its infancy and we hope our experiment will yield more information about them.
"Thirdly, our understanding of the mechanism and strength of the mass flux supported by the benthic boundary layer (BBL) of a stratified lake is the central unsolved problem. It is this flux that determines the coupling between benthic (subsurface) and pelagic (upper-water) ecosystems; in this sense the flux in the BBL controls the primary productivity in a lake."
The experiment, part of a $205,000 Australian Research Council 2010 Discovery Project, will be conducted in collaboration with researchers from Università degli Studi di Brescia.
"This management system has allowed us to overcome the tyranny of scale," Professor Imberger said. "Lake Iseo is a relatively large and deep system and cannot easily be covered with a monitoring program. RMS allows us to combine monitoring equipment; database management; three-dimensional computer simulations of the hydrodynamics and the ecology; and web technology in real-time, so that field experiments maybe embedded into numerical solutions on the ‘fly'.
"The point is comparing actual measurements with the numerical prediction and the adapting the experimental strategy to maximise the signal for the question under investigation."
Professor Jörg Imberger (Director, UWA Centre for Water Research) (+61 8) 6488 3911
Research Assistant Professor Clelia Luisa Marti (UWA CWR) (+61 8) 6488 3527
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716