Management Options to Improve Water Quality in Lake Peipsi: Insights from Large Scale Models and Remote Sensing

  • Gabriel FinkEmail author
  • Sophia Burke
  • Stefan G. H. Simis
  • Külli Kangur
  • Tiit Kutser
  • Mark Mulligan


Nutrient pollution causes frequent blooms of potentially harmful cyanobacteria in Lake Peipsi (Estonia/Russia). Although external nutrient loading has reduced since the 1990s, lake water quality has barely improved, and eutrophication is still considered a threat to lake biota and water usage. To understand the recovery dynamics of the lake it is necessary to analyse the effects of land use and lake management on water quality to develop mitigation strategies. Comprehensive analysis has thus far failed due to information gaps inherent to conventional monitoring strategies. We show how two large-scale hydrological models using Earth observation data provide spatial information on pollution and can help explain the causes of past and current lake eutrophication. WaterGAP3.2 provides valid estimates of present and probable future phosphorus concentration in the lake water, based on past hydrological conditions. WaterWorld models spatial potential water quality and a scenario of optimal pollution reduction. Remotely sensed optical water quality data can be used to analyse recent, spatial water quality dynamics. The spatial and temporal algae distributions and can help explain eutrophication causes at Lake Peipsi and its catchment, adding value to in situ monitoring and supporting river basin management with large scale data.


Lake Peipsi Eutrophication Lake phosphorus balance Cyanobacteria Algae blooms Lake management 



This work has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 603608. Calimnos was developed as part of the GloboLakes project funded by the National Environment Research Council of the United Kingdom.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Environmental Systems Research (CESR)University of KasselKasselGermany
  2. 2.Landesanstalt für Umwelt Baden-Württemberg LUBWKarlsruheGermany
  3. 3.AmbioTEK CICEssexUK
  4. 4.Plymouth Marine LaboratoryProspect PlacePlymouthUK
  5. 5.Institute Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Centre for LimnologyEstonian University of Life SciencesTartumaaEstonia
  6. 6.Estonian Marine InstituteUniversity of TartuTallinnEstonia
  7. 7.Department of GeographyKings College LondonLondonUK

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