A nested-grid hydrodynamic modeling system is used to examine the circulation and dispersion in Lake Huron and adjacent areas with specific attention to physical parameters pertinent to the estimation of hydrodynamic connectivity of near-surface waters. The nested system is forced by monthly mean surface heat flux and 12-hourly wind stress computed from wind speeds extracted from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) 40-year reanalysis data. The three-dimensional model currents are used to calculate the retention and dispersion of conservative, near-surface particles carried by the currents. The near-surface dispersion is relatively low in Saginaw Bay, eastern Georgian Bay and the eastern North Channel; and relatively high over the western part of the main lake and the coastal region of south Lake Huron. The hydrodynamic connectivity in the surface water and connectivity matrices are calculated from particle movements carried passively by model currents superposed by a random walk process. The model results demonstrate that the hydrodynamic connectivity in the North Channel and Georgian Bay (ranging from 0.9 to 2.2%) is much weaker than those in the main lake (5.3 to 21.9%).

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