The ASCE Capital Branch hosted Postdoctoral Scholar Sergio Valbuena, PhD, who presented on his research at the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC). This virtual presentation was held on Tuesday, July 25th.

About the Presentation:

Dr. Valbuena uses two dimensional models to study and predict water motion at Lake Tahoe. Upwelling can drive impacts of ecological nature and exert changes in the water quality. We focus on analyzing the effects of the Earth’s rotation on the flow dynamics during active upwelling and after the wind weakens. Upwelling was observed at upwind boundaries and along-wind shores. Following the weakening of the wind forcing, migration of the thermal front towards the upwelled zone initiates the relaxation stage of the upwelling event, and rotational effects altered the flow dynamics across the lake. These strong cyclonic currents likely generate horizontal alongshore transport of constituents during the upwelling relaxation and play a relevant role in the water quality along the well-known upward motions of nutrients on the upwelled zone.

About the Presenter:

School of Engineering Julio Garavito, Colombia. He is interested in understanding physical processes and water quality in lakes and currently working as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC), UC Davis. Sergio is developing a 3D numerical model to address mercury dynamics in lakes. This research aims to provide insights into the complex interactions between mercury and the lake environment. Moreover, Sergio manages the Lake Tahoe Nearshore Network and the Lake Conditions forecasting Lake Tahoe numerical model.

During his doctoral studies, Sergio developed a numerical model to address the Coriolis effects observed during upwelling events in lakes of moderate size, with Lake Tahoe as a primary case study. His approach offered insights into the rotational influences affecting lake upwelling phenomena and allowed him to develop a conceptual framework for addressing the Coriolis effects in lakes during upwelling events. He also addressed the oxygen dynamics during upwelling events.

Sergio’s work to understand lake dynamics extends beyond upwelling processes. He has also conducted research on sediment resuspension induced by boat activity in shallow waters and the ecological implications of this phenomenon, contributing to the development of management strategies for lake ecosystems. Learn more about Sergio by clicking here.


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