Wave dynamics and resuspension in Lake Guaíba (Brazil) with implications on points of water abstraction for human supply

Nicolodi, João Luiz; Toldo Junior, Elirio Ernestino; Farina, Leandro

Abstract:

This research examines the characteristics of Lake Guaíba’s waves with regard to their main parameters; significant wave height (Hs), period (T), direction of wave propagation and its connections with the ressuspension of sediments at the bottom. To this end, SWAN (Simulating Waves Nearshore) a type of software using mathematical modeling techniques, has been validated and applied, with its main inputs being the lake’s bathymetry, direction, wind speed and frequency in the region (between 1996 and 1997) in addition to currents, water level, density, and maximum and minimum frequencies, among others. The highest waves modeled reached 0.55 m in a few points of the lake, particularly when winds were blowing from the S and SE quadrants with an intensity of over 7 m/sec. Generally speaking, waves follow wind intensity and direction patterns, and reach maximum values in about 1 to 2 hours after wind speed peaks. Whenever winds were stronger, waves took some 2 hours to reach 0.10 m, but with weak to moderate winds, they took around 3 hours. In addition to speed and direction, wind regularity proved relevant in generating and propagating waves on Lake Guaíba. The lake’s sediment environments were mapped and rated as follows: 1) Depositional Environment (51% of the lake); 2) Transitional Environment (41%); and 3) Erosional or Non-Depositional Environment (8%). As a contribution to the region’s environmental management, subsidies have been created with relation to the concentration of particulate suspended matter. This potential has been defined as a percentage of time, throughout the year, in which the wave-created ressuspension of environment sediments can increase the pollution levels at places where water is currently captured for public supply in the Porto Alegre area.

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