Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Changsheng He, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lisa M. DeChano-Cook, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Adam J. Matthews, Ph.D.


Remote sensing, small lakes, water level fluctuations

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Accurate analysis of lake level fluctuations is critical for water resources management. However, it remains a challenge to estimate lake level fluctuations in ungauged small lakes such as East Twin Lake. Located in Twin Lake, Michigan, East Twin Lake has experienced a drastic reduction in water surface area since 2020. To understand the nature of water level fluctuations in East Twin Lake, this study utilized a combination of Landsat and National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) data to make surface water area estimations of East Twin Lake for the period of 1993-2022. In total, 27 years of water surface area estimations were made by utilizing the Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI) and Landsat data. MNDWI derived measurements displayed an average accuracy of 90.43% when validated with 1 meter resolution NAIP aerial images. Results revealed four clear trends in water level fluctuations in East Twin Lake: 1) Above average water levels from 1993-2000; 2) Average to below average water levels from 2000-2012; 3) Steadily increasing water levels from 2012-2020; and 4) Sharp decline in water levels from 2020-2022. Climate analysis conducted revealed that water level declines following 2020 coincided with a decline in total precipitation and a concurrent increase in evaporation.