Circulation Patterns Within the Near-Shore Region of the Southern Basin of Lake Michigan

by Nani G. Bhowmik, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, United States,
Ta-Wei Soong, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, United States,
Il Won Seo, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, United States,
William C. Bogner, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, United States,

Abstract: The southwestern basin of Lake Michigan has been subject to extreme stresses because of its close proximity to large populations. A knowledge of the current patterns within this zone would be of great assistance to water resources managers in implementing appropriate management alternatives. A pilot research project was recently completed in which data on currents were collected from this basin. Velocity data were collected from two sites: one near Wilmette Harbor and the other near the 8,000- year-old tree stump site discovered in Lake Michigan about 15 miles from the shore. Analyses of the near-shore data have shown that a fairly strong longshore current exists during the fall season, moving from a northwesterly direction toward a southeasterly direction. Velocity data collected near the tree stump site at two depths (80 feet, and close to the bed) for a four-week period in the summer of 1990 indicated that the water normally flowed in a westerly direction for about a week, after which the direction completely changed by about 180°. During this four-week period, the overall direction of water movement changed about 9 to 10 times, indicating a large rotating flow field probably on the order of 4 to 5 miles in diameter.

Subject Headings: Lakes | Water circulation | Nearshore | Fluid flow | Flow measurement | Basins | Light rail transit | Water flow | Flow duration | Flow patterns | Data collection | Lake Michigan

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