Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 213–228

New Approaches to the Modelling of Lake Basin Morphometry


  • Håkan Johansson
    • Department of Earth SciencesUppsala University
    • Department of Earth SciencesUppsala University
  • Lars Håkanson
    • Department of Earth SciencesUppsala University

DOI: 10.1007/s10666-006-9069-z

Cite this article as:
Johansson, H., Brolin, A.A. & Håkanson, L. Environ Model Assess (2007) 12: 213. doi:10.1007/s10666-006-9069-z


In lake modelling, a general and useful method of describing variations in area and volume with depth is of fundamental importance to describe processes and properties that change vertically within a given lake. In this work, two mathematical approaches to describe the shape of a lake basin are introduced and tested against empirical data. The two methods require only three easily available input parameters: maximum depth, surface area and volume. The first method is based on a traditional morphometric parameter, the volume development (Vd), and the second method on the new hypsographic development parameter (Hd). Both methods give area and volume at any depth of a lake and can furthermore be used to estimate lake bottom slopes. Comparisons with empirical area–depth and volume–depth distribution curves from 105 lakes that cover a wide range of lake morphometric characteristics have revealed that the two methods give very satisfactory results. The Vd-model yields r2-values of 0.924 and 0.907 for area and volume description with lake depth, respectively. The corresponding r2-values for the Hd-model are 0.988 and 0.996, respectively. Using the Hd-model, an approach has also been developed to test when and by how much it is necessary to correct the empirical volume of a lake given the number of measured strata and basin shape.


hypsographic curvehypsographic development parameterlake areamorphometryvolumevolume development parameterwater level fluctuations

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007