Observations and modeling results are presented to explore the response of a multi-basin, fjord-type lake to episodic wind forcing. Field observations show that abrupt cooling and warming events (magnitude greater than 5°C d-1) lasting 3–6 days in a large, salmon-bearing river (Quesnel River) are due to upwelling in its upstream lake (Quesnel Lake) during the summer, stratified season. Within the lake, vertical displacement of isotherms in the vicinity of the river mouth associated with this upwelling is shown to be forced by wind events longer than one quarter of the fundamental seiche period and of sufficient magnitude that the Wedderburn number approaches one. Upwelling occurs nearly-simultaneously throughout a smaller basin adjacent to the outflow (West Basin) that is separated from the Main Basin of Quesnel Lake by a sill and contraction. Wind-driven water fluxes across the sill are estimated using a conceptual model based on volume and heat budgets. These estimates provide an upper bound for flow across the sill and suggest that exchange flow may at times be internally hydraulically controlled, with epilimnetic velocities of up to ~25 cm/s. Computed fluxes suggest the West Basin hypolimnion has a residence time of 6–8 weeks during the summer stratified period with each upwelling episode irreversibly exchanging 25–30% of the hypolimnetic volume with the rest of the lake. Implications of such events are profound for salmon bearing rivers wherein the thermal habitat is critical to migration success.
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