Basin-Scale Waves Dynamics and Sediment Resuspension Mechanics in Central Lake Erie
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High-resolution physical and biogeochemical field data in central Lake Erie during the summers of 2008-2009 along with a three-dimensional numerical model were used to investigate the dynamics of basin scale waves and sediment resuspension mechanisms. In Chapter 2, the modal response of the Poincaré waves in the lake is assessed. The vertical mode-one Poincaré wave was found to be mostly dominant during the seasonal stratified period. The horizontal modal structure was also investigated in a sensitivity analysis, using the numerical model forced with real and idealized wind events. In Chapter 3, dynamics of bottom mixed layer (BML), primarily forced in the outer layer by surface seiches and Poincaré waves is studied for two 10-days representative intervals of weak and strong stratification. Shear velocity was calculated by least square fitting the well-known law-of-the-wall equation to observed near-bed velocity in a region of constant shear stress. Height of the BML is computed using water density (from water temperature) and compared with heights of logarithmic layer approximated using the law-of-the-wall equation and its modified form with buoyancy length scale term. Published equations for estimating BML heights are evaluated and modified for the lake. In Chapter 4, we investigate physical processes leading to sediment resuspension in the lake including surface waves (periods of 4-8s), up/downwelling events (periods of 3-4 day), and high frequency internal waves (periods of 5-45min). Temporal changes in near-bottom sediment resuspension are illustrated using changes in acoustic backscatter signals from current profilers and time series of turbidity measurements to identify the mechanism responsible for sediment resuspension. Resuspension is parameterized as a function of the critical velocity ~0.25ms-1 and from surface waves using linear wave theory. Finally, based on the critical velocity and sediment grain size analysis (from in-site field data), critical shear stress and Shields parameter are calculated and compared with previous observations in Lake Erie and in other locations suggesting a modified Shields diagram for silty bed materials.