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From seasonal forecasting to lake water quality: a practical tool

Linking seasonal forecasting and impact models related to water quality in lakes remains a challenging task for the stakeholders and the scientific community. The current global databases of seasonal forecasting allow the identification of seasonal climate anomalies for the next months (usually, between 3 and 9 months), which influence the surface water balance in any watershed. However, a feasible and robust tool is needed to connect this available information with the hydrology of the watershed and water quality in downstream freshwater systems. Here we present such a tool following a work-flow from seasonal forecasting information, hydrologic modeling and lake modeling. We applied this methodology in Sau Reservoir (Spain) associated with the Ter River (1400 km2), as a practical example, yet the tool is designed to be applied in any system, using as forcing two seasonal forecasting databases: CFSv2 (from NCEP) and System4 (from ECMWF). The seasonal forecasting data were corrected and visualized using the climate4R packages, which was used as meteorological input in the hydrologic model. We used the hydrologic model (mHMv5.9) to obtain streamflow, which was used as input in the lake model (GOTM). Finally, the lake model is forced by the streamflow and seasonal forecasting data. Due to the lack of predictability in Europe, consistency among the forecasting systems used was not found. The outputs and analysis from this methodology are useful to identify the most pressing needs to develop usable seasonal water quality predictions.