Applications of particle tracking model for large lakes
Kuchikulla, Preetam R
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The occurrence of algal blooms in the Great Lakes has been a growing concern over the past few decades, especially the occurrence of toxic or harmful algal blooms (HABs). Studying the general circulation would help in understanding the movement of detected algal blooms. Most hydrodynamic models do not simulate the circulation in Great Lakes for realistic forcing conditions, and little work has been done to show the impact of inflows on the lake circulation. The specific goal of this work is to understand the general circulation in Lake Erie and to analyze the impact of inflows from three different rivers joining the western basin on the lake circulation. To accomplish these goals, a linked three-dimensional hydrodynamic and particle tracking model has been developed. The model was then applied to Lake Erie to simulate the circulation patterns to account for seasonal variations, based on long-term averaged meteorological conditions. It was also found that the inflows, particularly from the Detroit River, had significant effect on the lake circulation except during the fall months. The capability of the current model to describe spatially-dependent phenomena in Lake Erie was also demonstrated through three different applications. The motivation for this study came from a need to develop a complete algal transport system for Lake Erie, as part of the MERHAB-LGL project, which would provide predictions of expected transport patterns of algal blooms.