Multimodel simulation of vertical gas transfer in a temperate lake

In recent decades, several lake models of varying complexity have been developed and incorporated in numerical weather prediction systems and climate models. To foster enhanced forecasting ability and verification, improvement of these lake models remains essential. This especially applies to the limited simulation capabilities of biogeochemical processes in lakes and greenhouse gas exchanges with the atmosphere. Here we present multi-model simulations of physical variables and dissolved gas dynamics in a temperate lake (Harp Lake, Canada). The five models (ALBM, FLake, LAKE, LAKEoneD, MTCR-1) considered within this most recent round of the Lake Model Intercomparison Project (LakeMIP) all captured the seasonal temperature variability well. In contrast, none of the models is able to reproduce the exact dates of ice-cover and ice-off, leading to considerable errors in the simulation of eddy diffusivity around those dates. We then conducted an additional modeling experiment with a diffusing passive tracer to isolate the effect of the eddy diffusivity on gas concentration. Remarkably, sophisticated k − ϵ models do not demonstrate a significant difference in the vertical diffusion of a passive tracer compared to models with much simpler turbulence closures. All models simulate less intensive spring overturn compared to autumn. Reduced mixing in the models consequently leads to the accumulation of the passive tracer distribution in the water column. The lake models with a comprehensive biogeochemical module, such as ALBM and LAKE, predict dissolved oxygen dynamics adequate to the observed data. However, for the surface carbon dioxide concentration the correlation between modeled (ALBM, LAKE) and observed data is weak (∼ 0.3). Overall our results indicate the need to improve the representation of physical and biogeochemical processes in lake models, thereby contributing to enhanced weather prediction and climate projection capabilities.