Upwelling in South Main Lake – Identifying Events and Assessing Impacts


February 1, 2019 to January 31, 2021


Researchers will study the occurrence and impacts of upwelling events in the South Main Lake region of Lake Champlain. Upwelling may alter water quality and biology in the South Main Lake and induce northward export of high phosphorous loading through retreating cold, hypolimnetic water.

Researchers will determine the potential for hypolimnetic water to reach the surface in the South Main Lake region and will monitor the frequency, spatial extent, and relationship to wind forcing events during the warm season. They will determine the impact of events on water quality, specifically chlorophyll, turbidity, and plankton abundance in surface and deep waters in the South Main Lake and at the Valcour data buoy site. They will then assess relationships between South Main Lake events with changing climate and conditions farther north. Through outreach programs, researchers will disseminate findings and basic limnology to lake managers and the public.

This study will help managers better understand the consequences of policy decisions, while also shedding light on physical processes (upwelling) that are not controllable and may be modified by a changing climate. Findings will help to understand our progress toward cleaner water in Lake Champlain and the potential for climate change to compromise those efforts.


Eric Leibensperger
SUNY Plattsburgh
eleib003 [at] plattsburgh.edu

Tom Manley
Middlebury College
tmanley [at] middlebury.edu