The effects of river run-off on water clarity across the central Great Barrier Reef

Fabricius, K. E., Logan, M., Weeks, S. and Brodie, J. (2014) The effects of river run-off on water clarity across the central Great Barrier Reef. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 84 1-2: 191-200. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.05.012

Author Fabricius, K. E.
Logan, M.
Weeks, S.
Brodie, J.
Title The effects of river run-off on water clarity across the central Great Barrier Reef
Journal name Marine Pollution Bulletin   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-326X
Publication date 2014-05-23
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.05.012
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 84
Issue 1-2
Start page 191
End page 200
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Changes in water clarity across the shallow continental shelf of the central Great Barrier Reef were investigated from ten years of daily river load, oceanographic and MODIS-Aqua data. Mean photic depth (i.e., the depth of 10% of surface irradiance) was related to river loads after statistical removal of wave and tidal effects. Across the ∼25,000 km2 area, photic depth was strongly related to river freshwater and phosphorus loads (R2 = 0.65 and 0.51, respectively). In the six wetter years, photic depth was reduced by 19.8% and below water quality guidelines for 156 days, compared to 9 days in the drier years. After onset of the seasonal river floods, photic depth was reduced for on average 6–8 months, gradually returning to clearer baseline values. Relationships were strongest inshore and midshelf (∼12–80 km from the coast), and weaker near the chronically turbid coast. The data show that reductions in river loads would measurably improve shelf water clarity, with significant ecosystem health benefits.
Keyword Turbidity
Photic depth
Generalized additive mixed models
Great Barrier Reef
Nutrient runoff
River floods
MODIS satellite data
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online ahead of print 23 May 2014.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Created: Mon, 26 May 2014, 19:30:38 EST by Scarla Weeks on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management