Changing Climatic Conditions Affect Surface Water Quality in Southwestern Louisiana in the United States

  • Katherine Eddings Environmental Science Program, School of Geosciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
  • Durga D Poudel Environmental Science Program, School of Geosciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
  • Timothy W. Duex Geology, School of Geosciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
  • Robert Miller Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
  • J. Calvin Berry Department of Mathematics, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Keywords: Climate change, Louisiana, Precipitation, Temperature

Abstract

Climate change impacts on rising temperatures, changes on rainfall patterns, drought, flooding, sea level rise, glacier melts, and incidence of diseases and parasites are reported worldwide in recent decades. This study investigates the effects of changing climatic conditions – particularly air temperature and precipitation, on surface water temperatures and other water quality parameters, such as the conductivity, dissolved oxygen (DO), pH, and turbidity. A statistical analysis was performed on air temperature and precipitation data from 1980 to 2005 to determine the changing climatic conditions. The water quality data for four waterbodies in southwestern Louisiana was also analyzed to examine trends between the air temperature and surface water temperatures, precipitation and surface water temperatures, and precipitation and water quality parameters. There was an unexpected increase in surface water temperature with an increase in precipitation. As the precipitation and air temperature increased, so did the surface water temperature. This increase in surface water temperature was correlated with decrease in DO levels. The increase in precipitation also correlated with an increase in pH and turbidity in Bayou Plaquemine Brule. This study’s findings could be utilized in a dynamic climate modeling system to provide more accurate predictions of climate change in southwestern Louisiana.

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Author Biographies

Katherine Eddings, Environmental Science Program, School of Geosciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Katherine Eddings earned her Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Resource Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA, USA, and Bachelor’s of Science degree from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, USA. She currently teaches undergraduate Environmental Science classes for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and taught previously at Horry-Georgetown Technical College. Her areas of interest are water quality, environmental restoration, and climatology. She has one four-legged, furry child named Cinna and enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, and spending time with Cinna.

Durga D Poudel, Environmental Science Program, School of Geosciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Durga D. Poudel is a Professor of Environmental Science at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, USA. He received his B.Sc. degree in Agriculture from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, M.Sc. in Natural Resource Development and Management from Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, and Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Dr. Poudel’s professional experience consists of Research Fellow at Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center, Taiwan; Graduate Research Assistant in Sustainable Agricultural and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA; and Visiting Research Scholar, University of California Davis, USA. Dr. Poudel joined the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, as an Assistant Professor of Soil Science in August 2000. Dr. Poudel is a Board of Regents Professor in Applied Life Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. As an Associate Editor, Dr. Poudel has been serving the Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment journal since 2020. He is the Founder of Asta-Ja Framework and the Founding President of Asta-Ja Research and Development Center (Asta-Ja RDC) Kathmandu, Nepal, and Asta-Ja USA.

Timothy W. Duex, Geology, School of Geosciences, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Timothy W. Duex has been at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette since 1984 where he is Associate Professor in the School Geosciences. He is a member of several professional societies, including the Lafayette Geological Society, in which he served as President, the American Association of Petroleum Geology, Division of Environmental Geology, where he is Secretary-Treasurer, the Geological Society of America, and the Baton Rouge Geological Society. He is also the University of Louisiana representative since 2001 on the Water Advisory Task Force of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. He teaches courses in Hydrology, Environmental Geology, Mineralogy, Petrology, and Field investigations.

Robert Miller, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Robert Miller is an assistant professor in the civil engineering department at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA, USA. Dr. Miller’s research focuses on numerical modeling in hydraulics and hydrology, coastal water quality, and mathematical biology. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Miller worked in the private sector for 11 years as a water resources engineer and project manager on numerous projects including site drainage design, FEMA flood zone mapping and floodplain management, environmental impact assessments, watershed master plans, and coastal restoration. Dr. Miller obtained his PhD in applied mathematics with an emphasis in structured population dynamics in 2015 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is a registered professional engineer in Louisiana.

J. Calvin Berry, Department of Mathematics, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

J. Calvin Berry is an associate professor of statistics in the Mathematics Department at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Dr. Berry received his Bachelor of Science (1978) and Master of Arts (1980) degrees in mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA. He received his PhD in statistics (1985) from Cornell University. After graduating from Cornell, he joined the faculty in the mathematics department at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, USA. In 1990, he relocated to Lafayette to join the statistics department at UL Lafayette, then University of Southwestern Louisiana. He teaches statistics at all levels, provides statistical advice to students and faculty, and conducts research in statistics.

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Published
2021-07-09
Section
Articles