Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering

Advisor 1

Pengfei Xue

Committee Member 1

Guy Meadows

Committee Member 2

Brian D. Barkdoll


This study provides a comprehensive assessment of coastal hazards along the southern shores of Lake Superior, encompassing the interplay of static water levels, surges, and the amplifying effects of wave dynamics. Employing 51 years of historical water level data from five gauge stations in the US portion of Lake Superior, the study conducts extreme value analysis to estimate return levels over various return periods (25, 50, 100, and 500 years) for static water levels and surges. In parallel, Significant Wave Heights (SWH) data generated from the Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN) model is calibrated through a multi-step procedure based on historical SWH data from seven Wave Information System (WIS) stations. The calibrated SWAN model provides complete spatiotemporal variability of SWH and is subsequently compared with WIS station data to validate the amplification procedure. This information is integrated for creating total wave hazard elevation contour plots and subsequently inundation maps to assess the risks associated with wave-induced coastal flooding across the entire southern shores of Lake Superior. The findings underscore the intricate interplay between static water levels, surges, and wave dynamics, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive understanding of wave forces in coastal resilience planning and flood mitigation strategies for the rural regions of Lake Superior.