Scientists complete the background map of Enriquillo and Azuéi lakes
INTEC and CCNY install climate monitoring network in the area and publish data on the web, as part of the study
SANTO DOMINGO.- Researchers of the City College of New York (CCNY) and Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) completed a detailed digital bathymetry of the Enriquillo lakes, of the Dominican Republic, and Azuéi of Haiti, which presents the virtual map of the bottom and allows to have an accurate idea of how much water the lakes have gained since they began to grow in 2004
The technicians presented the latest advances in joint research on Lake Enriquillo to state institutions, civil society organizations and international organizations.
The bathymetry is essential to establish accurate water balances of the lakes, a net measure of the amount of water in and out, necessary to determine the causes of floods. With this advance, researchers are able to anticipate more precisely how much more they could increase in the future.
Another contribution of the research has been the installation of a network of climatic sensors that strengthen the capacity of the National Office of Meteorology (ONAMET) to monitor the weather in different locations in the province of Independencia.
The teams have been installed in 21 points from 2011 by researchers and students of INTEC and CCNY, the Ministry of the Environment and ONAMET. They analyze climatic variables in some 20 localities of the lake area. The teams measure the variables of precipitation, fog precipitation, temperature, relative humidity, soil moisture, solar irradiation, evaporation, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, salinity and lake level, among other indicators, according to the locality, which they are monitored for the first time.
The ONAMET station in Jimaní was also automated and some additional equipment was included. Data analysis of this network have revealed the magnitude of water production in the mountains, which was unknown until now and which is contributing to the growth of the lakes. The data also indicate that the Enriquillo salinity levels have been reduced by more than 75 ppm (parts per thousand) to around 20 ppm, equivalent to fresh water.
The researchers presented a portal, which is accessed through www.intec.edu.do, where they make public climatic data from the automated stations, starting with the station of Jimaní and Lago Enriquillo). This will allow those interested in the subject to know the most up-to-date data, so that other local and international researchers can use them and share studies on this problem.
In addition, next to the Drexel University, INTEC has investigated how communities have been affected as well as their perceptions of causes, possible solutions and how they have adapted, through interviews in six communities of Lake Enriquillo and three of Lake Azuéi.
So far scientists have raised the possibility that the growth of Enriquillo and Azuéi lakes responds to a regional phenomenon associated with climate changes, especially an increase in precipitation in the area. According to this, during the investigation they have been identified through satellite images, that other bodies of water in the region have grown in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti, including lagoons such as Cabral, Limón and De en Medio, Miragoane and Trou Caiman.
The Enriquillo Lake project, originally funded by the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Innovation and Development (FONDOCYT) of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT), has become a joint research program INTEC-CCNY in the extent to which activities have been extended, since it is a phenomenon with socioeconomic and environmental implications in both countries, in addition to a scientific challenge. The Lagos de La Española Project also receives sponsorship from the National Science Foundation of the United States (NSF).
As part of the investigation, the technical team presented a portal, available through www.intec.edu.do (Project Lagos de la Española), where they make public the weather data coming from the automated stations in real time, starting with the station of Jimaní and Lago Enriquillo. This will allow those interested in the subject to know the most updated data and that other local and international researchers can use them and share studies on this problem.
During the workshop on socialization of results, conducted in the Sala Ravelo of INTEC, researchers Jorge González, the main researcher of the project for CCNY, presented an overview of the problems of Lake Enriquillo and Daniel Comarazamy, of CCNY, who described where the fresh water that affects the hydrological balance of the Enriquillo and Azuei Lakes originates. Also Yolanda León from INTEC, who spoke about the vulnerability and the responses to the growth of the lakes.
Juan Salado, from ONAMET, affirmed that the work dynamics of the research is an example of multi-institutional collaboration to study the climate, especially in the lake region, while Mahrokh Moknatian, was in charge of presenting the bathymetries of the lakes and preliminary data on their water balances.
The CCNY scientists also belong to the Center NOAA-CREST of the University.