A model approach to assess the long-term trends of indirect photochemistry in lake water. The case of Lake Maggiore (NW Italy).
ABSTRACT A model-based approach is here developed and applied to predict the long-term trends of indirect photochemical processes in the surface layer (5m water depth) of Lake Maggiore, NW Italy. For this lake, time series of the main parameters of photochemical importance that cover almost two decades are available. As a way to assess the relevant photochemical reactions, the modelled steady-state concentrations of important photogenerated transients ((•)OH, ³CDOM* and CO₃(-•)) were taken into account. A multivariate analysis approach was adopted to have an overview of the system, to emphasise relationships among chemical, photochemical and seasonal variables, and to highlight annual and long-term trends. Over the considered time period, because of the decrease of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content of water and of the increase of alkalinity, a significant increase is predicted for the steady-state concentrations of the radicals (•)OH and CO₃(-•). Therefore, the photochemical degradation processes that involve the two radical species would be enhanced. Another issue of potential photochemical importance is related to the winter maxima of nitrate (a photochemical (•)OH source) and the summer maxima of DOC ((•)OH sink and ³CDOM* source) in the lake water under consideration. From the combination of sunlight irradiance and chemical composition data, one predicts that the processes involving (•)OH and CO₃(-•) would be most important in spring, while the reactions involving ³CDOM* would be most important in summer.