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1261B Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Ph: (608) 263-3078
Fax: (608) 262-5199
chinwu@engr.wisc.edu

Profile Summary

Fundamental understanding of physical processes in air-sea interactions is one of critical components for accurately predicting climate change. We are specifically interested in the role of waves breaking due to wave-current interactions. To elucidate these processes, experimental, theoretical, and numerical approaches are used. Work is underway to study kinematic and dynamic effects of sheared currents on extreme and breaking waves in the laboratory and field. Further we are examining the occurrence of freak wave and its characteristics. Our ultimate goal is to develop a temporal form of physics-based parametrization for momentum, heat, and humidity fluxes of the coupled atmospheric-ocean models to better predict wave and climate evolution.

Understanding the processes responsible for the resuspension, transport, and deposition of particle-associated, hazardous, organic contaminants in the bottom sediments of rivers and lakes is crucial to determining the cycling of pollutants and their biological productivity for public health and safety and for the protection and enhancement of aquatic life. Currents, waves, and turbulence are the primary agents for eroding sediments from rivers, beaches, and coastal bluffs and transporting them throughout water bodies. These processes repeat over various time scales associated with differential heating and cooling cycles to episodic storms until the sediments are deposited in low energy environments. To better quantify the fate and transport of the contaminated sediments under current/wave dominated flows, we are developing an innovative in-situ instrument package to measure waves, current and sediment profiles, sediment resuspension rates, depositions, and particle size distributions. In addition, a well-controlled automated image sediment erosion test flume system is developed to further quantify bottom sediment characteristics. Our ultimate goal is to understand the coastal processes responsible for the resuspension, transport, and deposition of contaminated sediments, the cycling of pollutants, and biological productivity in the Great Lakes, inland lakes, streams, and rivers.

The effects of hydrologic and hydrodynamic characteristics on environmental impacts of lakes such as bloom formation, water quality and shoreline erosion have been great concerns to the local communities as well as national agencies. We have been developing and applying state-of-the-art instrument to better understand processes related to the impacts and concerns. Furthermore, conceptual or comprehensive models have been developed to predict the effects on environmental changes (e.g. TIN-SWAT for adpative mangment of watershed, one-dimensional hydrodynamic-ice model for lakes in response to climate change, or three-dimensional non-hydrostatic and stratified flow model for general circulation pattern, surface and internal waves and their breaking over shoaling bathymetry). Overall, the models have been coupled with a cohesive sediment transport model, a water quality model, and an ecosystem model to examine the interactions of physical, chemical, and biological processes in lakes/rivers/streams in response to anthropogenic pollution and weather or climate changes. An interdisciplinary approach is undertaken to further address their environmental and social impacts. 

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