Estimating Hypoxic Volume in the Chesapeake Bay Using Two Continuously Sampled Oxygen Profiles Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) occur in many embayments throughout the world and have numerous detrimental effects on biota. Although measurement of in situ DO is straightforward with modern instrumentation, quantifying the volume of water in a given embayment that is hypoxic (hypoxic volume (HV)) is a more difficult task; however, this information is critical for determining whether management efforts to increase DO are having an overall impact. This paper uses output from a three?dimensional numerical model to demonstrate that HV in Chesapeake Bay can be estimated well with as few as two vertical profiles. In addition, the cumulative hypoxic volume (HVC; the total amount of hypoxia in a given year) can be calculated with relatively low uncertainty (<10%) if continuous DO data are available from two strategically positioned vertical profiles. This is because HV in the Chesapeake Bay is strongly constrained by the geometry of the embayment. A simple Geometric HV calculation method is presented and numerical model results are used to illustrate that for calculating HVC, the results using two daily?averaged profiles are typically more accurate than those of the standard method that interpolates bimonthly cruise data. Bimonthly data produce less accurate estimates of HVC because high?frequency changes in oxygen concentration, for example, due to regional?weather? or storm?induced changes in wind direction and magnitude, are not resolved. The advantages of supplementing cruise?based sampling with continuous vertical profiles to estimate HVC should be applicable to other systems where hypoxic water is constrained to a specific area by bathymetry.

publication date

  • September 2018