Observation and Prediction of Seiches in Lake Superior

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Observation and Prediction of Seiches in Lake Superior

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Seiches are oscillations in water level driven by wind or atmospheric pressure gradients. Seiches are examined in Lake Superior using 48 years of lake level data from nine different stations. Power spectral analyses identify the seiche frequency, amplitude and quality factor (i.e., decay time scale). Cross-spectra reveal the observed spatial structure of the seiche, which agrees well with the theoretical basin mode shape and the first empirical orthogonal function (EOF). Wavelet analysis reveals how the seiche amplitude varies in time, indicating that the mean seiche amplitude in Duluth is 0.0234 m and 95% of amplitudes are below 0.0498 m. Lastly, a predictive model is constructed by (1) fitting the nine stations to the theoretical basin mode shape to obtain a lake-wide seiche amplitude and (2) fitting weights to the observed atmospheric pressure gradient to predict the evolution of the modal amplitude. The lake-wide fit explains almost 78% of the inter station variability on average and the weighted pressure observations explain almost 60% of the variance in the lake-wide amplitude. Surprisingly, the seiche amplitude is not coherent with observed wind stress, suggesting that wind does not force the seiche.



University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. 2020. Major: Water Resources Science. Advisor: Sam Kelly. 1 computer file (PDF); 54 pages.

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MANSUR, MAQSOOD. (2020). Observation and Prediction of Seiches in Lake Superior. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/217767.

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