Quantifying groundwater dependence of a sub-polar lake cluster in Finland using an isotope mass balance approach
- 1Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research Group, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, 90014 Oulun yliopisto, Finland
- 2Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science, AGH University of Science and Technology, 30 Mickiewicza Av., 30-059 Krakow, Poland
Abstract. A stable isotope study of 67 kettle lakes and ponds situated on an esker aquifer (90 km2) in northern Finland was carried out to determine the role and extent of groundwater inflow in groundwater-dependent lakes. Distinct seasonal fluctuations in the δ18O and δ2H values of lakes are the result of seasonal ice cover prohibiting evaporation during the winter. An iterative isotope mass balance approach was used to calculate the inflow-to-evaporation ratios (ITOT/E) of all 67 lakes during the summer of 2013 when the isotopic compositions of the lakes were approaching a steady-state. The balance calculations were carried out independently for 2H and 18O data. Since evaporation rates were derived independently of any mass balance considerations, it was possible to determine the total inflow (ITOT) and mean turnover time (MTT) of the lakes. Furthermore, the groundwater seepage rates to all studied lakes were calculated. A quantitative measure was introduced for the dependence of a lake on groundwater (G index) that is defined as the percentage contribution of groundwater inflow to the total inflow of water to the given lake. The G index values of the lakes studied ranged from ca. 39 to 98%, revealing generally large groundwater dependency among the studied lakes. This study shows the effectiveness of applying an isotope mass balance approach to quantify the groundwater reliance of lakes situated in a relatively small area with similar climatic conditions.