Wind-driven nearshore sediment resuspension in a deep lake during winter

Kristin E. Reardon, Fabían A. Bombardelli, Patricio A. Moreno-Casas, Francisco J. Rueda, S. Geoffrey Schladow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Ongoing public concern over declining water quality at Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada (USA) led to an investigation of wind-driven nearshore sediment resuspension that combined field measurements and modeling. Field data included: wind speed and direction, vertical profiles of water temperature and currents, nearbed velocity, lakebed sediment characteristics, and suspended sediment concentration and particle size distribution. Bottom shear stress was computed from ADV-measured nearbed velocity data, adapting a turbulent kinetic energy method to lakes, and partitioned according to its contributions attributed to wind-waves, mean currents, and random motions. When the total shear stress exceeded the critical shear stress, the contribution to overall shear stress was about 80% from wind-waves and 10% each from mean currents and random motions. Therefore, wind-waves were the dominant mechanism resulting in sediment resuspension as corroborated by simultaneous increases in shear stress and total measured sediment concentration. The wind-wave model STWAVE was successfully modified to simulate wind-waveinduced sediment resuspension for viscous-dominated flow typical in lakes. Previous lake applications of STWAVE have been limited to special instances of fully turbulent flow. To address the validity of expressions for sediment resuspension in lakes, sediment entrainment rates were found to be well represented by a modified 1991 García and Parker formula. Last, in situ measurements of suspended sediment concentration and particle size distribution revealed that the predominance of fine particles (by particle count) that most negatively impact clarity was unchanged by wind-related sediment resuspension. Therefore, we cannot assume that wind-driven sediment resuspension contributes to Lake Tahoe's declining nearshore clarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8826-8844
Number of pages19
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2014

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