Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor's Name

Fernando R. Miralles-Wilhelm

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

Assefa M. Melesse

Advisor's Name

Reinaldo Garcia

Advisor's Name

Walter Z. Tang

Date of Defense

4-1-2011

Abstract

The major objectives of this dissertation were to develop optimal spatial techniques to model the spatial-temporal changes of the lake sediments and their nutrients from 1988 to 2006, and evaluate the impacts of the hurricanes occurred during 1998-2006.

Mud zone reduced about 10.5% from 1988 to 1998, and increased about 6.2% from 1998 to 2006. Mud areas, volumes and weight were calculated using validated Kriging models. From 1988 to 1998, mud thicknesses increased up to 26 cm in the central lake area. The mud area and volume decreased about 13.78% and 10.26%, respectively. From 1998 to 2006, mud depths declined by up to 41 cm in the central lake area, mud volume reduced about 27%. Mud weight increased up to 29.32% from 1988 to 1998, but reduced over 20% from 1998 to 2006. The reduction of mud sediments is likely due to re-suspension and redistribution by waves and currents produced by large storm events, particularly Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and Wilma in 2005.

Regression, kriging, geographically weighted regression (GWR) and Regression-Kriging models have been calibrated and validated for the spatial analysis of the sediments TP and TN of the lake. GWR models provide the most accurate predictions for TP and TN based on model performance and error analysis. TP values declined from an average of 651 to 593 mg/kg from 1998 to 2006, especially in the lake’s western and southern regions. From 1988 to 1998, TP declined in the northern and southern areas, and increased in the central-western part of the lake. The TP weights increased about 37.99% - 43.68% from 1988 to 1998 and decreased about 29.72% - 34.42% from 1998 to 2006.

From 1988 to 1998, TN decreased in most areas, especially in the northern and southern lake regions; western littoral zone had the biggest increase, up to 40,000 mg/kg. From 1998 to 2006, TN declined from an average of 9,363 to 8,926 mg/kg, especially in the central and southern regions. The biggest increases occurred in the northern lake and southern edge areas. TN weights increased about 15%-16.2% from 1988 to 1998, and decreased about 7%-11% from 1998 to 2006.

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