Mechanical energy in lakes is present in various types of water motion, including turbulent flows, surface and internal waves. The major source of kinetic energy is wind forcing at the water surface. Although a small portion of the vertical wind energy flux in the atmosphere is transferred to water, it is crucial for physical, biogeochemical and ecological processes in lentic ecosystems. To examine energy fluxes and energy content in surface and internal waves, we analyze extensive datasets of air- and water-side measurements collected at two small water bodies (<10 km2
). For the first time we use directly measured atmospheric momentum fluxes. The estimated energy fluxes and content agree well with results reported for larger lakes, suggesting that the energetics governing water motions in enclosed basins is similar, independent of basin size. The largest fraction of wind energy flux is transferred to surface waves and increases strongly nonlinearly for wind speeds exceeding 3 m s−1
. The energy content is largest in basin-scale and high-frequency internal waves but shows seasonal variability and varies among aquatic systems. At one of the study sites, energy dissipation rates varied diurnally, suggesting biogenic turbulence, which appears to be a widespread phenomenon in lakes and reservoirs.
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