Check up on Lake Taupo

A monitoring buoy in Lake Taupo delivers continuous data on lake water quality, providing an up-to-date picture of the lake health.

To assist with the water quality monitoring in Lake Taupo, NIWA has installed a buoy monitoring station at the deepest site on the lake (150 m bottom depth). The station provides continuous real time data, with measurements every minute, which are sent (telemetered) to the NIWA office with formatted versions supplied to Waikato Regional Council, Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board, and the Department of Internal Affairs.

Data from the buoy includes measurements of water temperature at 21 different depths, dissolved oxygen at several depths and chlorophyll fluorescence.  The continuous data flow provided by the buoy station is an important improvement to the routine monitoring in the Taupo Monitoring program carried out once every three weeks by NIWA for the Waikato Regional Council. 

Meteorological sensors installed on a mast on top of the buoy record wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, solar and longwave radiation and rainfall.  This real time weather data is of interest to fishermen, and the location of the thermocline in the lake informs them where fishing may be most successful. 

NIWA Contacts

Dr Piet Verburg

The Taupo Buoy mooring array [NIWA]
The Minister for the Environment, the Honorable Nick Smith, visits Lake Taupo with the buoy in the background. [NIWA]
Water temperatures in July 2015 show the end of the stratified season in Lake Taupo with the lake’s surface water becoming cooler (top). Red indicates warm, and blue indicates cool water. Water temperatures at all depths become the same as deep water temperatures (red) in mid July (lower left), while dissolved oxygen in deep water (brown) increases until the concentrations are the same concentrations as near the surface (lower right). [NIWA]
Research subject: Estuaries