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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering

Advisor 1

Pengfei Xue

Committee Member 1

Martin T. Auer

Committee Member 2

Gangfeng Ma

Committee Member 3

Guy A. Meadows

Committee Member 4

Brian D. Barkdoll


The objective of this dissertation is to develop a framework of coupling model system and apply the system (i.e., single or multiple model components) in the Great Lakes to better understand the impacts of multi-scale hydrodynamics of coastal systems. This work has included three main topics that reveal the lake dynamics from basin to nearshore scales. In the basin scale, a study of the long-term wave climate of Lake Michigan from 1979 to 2020 is conducted following the climate change over the past decades, and a high-resolution wave model is performed for hindcasting. The details of this study are included in chapter 3. Two nearshore related cases are studied in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario, respectively. The occurrence of meteotsunamis is not uncommon in Lake Michigan, and it has significant contributions in a nearshore flooding event (i.e., meteotsunami-induced flooding). The modeling study of nearshore meteotsunami-induced flooding is produced in the Ludington, Michigan nearshore of Lake Michigan. The study applied an extremely high-resolution hydrodynamic model with localized configurations to adapt to specific features (i.e., breakwaters and wet/dry processes). Numerical experiments were examined to evaluate the recent flooding situation and additional flooding analysis was performed to represent near future climate scenarios. The study is expected to set up a framework in the future for similar work in different locations. The details can be found in chapter 4. Another phenomena related to nearshore processes is conducted on the northern shore of Lake Ontario near the town of Ajax. To resolve the transport issues (i.e., discharge plume and pollutant of concern footprint dimensions), a high-resolution, linked hydrodynamic-tracer model is applied. The model results are validated with observations and then used for qualifying the footprint dimensions. The results and suggestions for potential management aspects are given in chapter 5.