Effects of patchy shade on stream water temperature: how quickly do small streams heat and cool?
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Summer field observations in five 2nd order streams (width 1-2 m, depth 5-15 cm, velocity 5-10 cm s-1) in Western Australia and south-east Queensland showed that daily maximum temperatures changed by ᴰC over distances of 600-960 m (travel time 2-3 h) immediately downstream from 40-70% step changes in riparian shade. There was a strong linear relationship between the rate of change of daily maximum temperature and the change of shade such that downstream from a 100% change of shade the heating/cooling rates are ᴰC h-1 and ᱰàkm-1 (upper bound ᶰC h-1 and ᱵàkm-1) respectively. These high rates only apply over short distances and travel times because downstream water temperatures adjust to the new level of shade and reach a dynamic equilibrium. Shade was too patchy in the study streams to measure how long water takes to reach equilibrium, however, using an existing computer model, we estimate that this occurs after ~1200 m (travel time 4 h). Further modelling work is desirable to predict equilibrium temperatures under given meteorological, flow and shade conditions. Nevertheless, landowners and regulators can use this information to determine whether the presence/absence of certain lengths of bankside shade are likely to cause desirable/undesirable temperature decreases/increases.
Marine and freshwater research
© 2004 CSIRO : This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.