Currents and vertical mixing characteristics were investigated on the basis of time series of current meter and temperature data from a summer-stratified period in Lake Ontario. The experimental set up consisted of seven current meters distributed in one vertical line from 12 m below the surface to 1 m above the lake bottom at a total depth of 143 m. The period considered for the analysis was from June to September, 1991.
The currents showed pronounced oscillations with two significant kinetic energy peaks, one at about 17 hours due to inertial motions, and one at 10 days, probably due to meteorological forcing. The current shear in the hypolimnion was strong enough to overcome stability and generate turbulence (Richardson numbers below 0.25) and there was probably turbulence enough available to keep the matter (almost neutral buoyant particles) in the whole Nepheloid bottom layer in suspension. In the thermocline region the turbulence was mainly damped (Richardson numbers above 1), but some events with lower Richardson numbers were also calculated indicating increased mixing during these events. By analysing filtered and unfiltered current meter data it was found that the shear-generated turbulence in the hypolimnion was mainly due to the meteorologically forced currents. In the thermocline region, however, the vertical shear associated with the inertial oscillation had a greater impact on the mixing.