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Using a composite grid approach in a complex coastal domain to estimate estuarine residence time

July 1, 2010

We investigate the processes that influence residence time in a partially mixed estuary using a three-dimensional circulation model. The complex geometry of the study region is not optimal for a structured grid model and so we developed a new method of grid connectivity. This involves a novel approach that allows an unlimited number of individual grids to be combined in an efficient manner to produce a composite grid. We then implemented this new method into the numerical Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and developed a composite grid of the Hudson River estuary region to investigate the residence time of a passive tracer. Results show that the residence time is a strong function of the time of release (spring vs. neap tide), the along-channel location, and the initial vertical placement. During neap tides there is a maximum in residence time near the bottom of the estuary at the mid-salt intrusion length. During spring tides the residence time is primarily a function of along-channel location and does not exhibit a strong vertical variability. This model study of residence time illustrates the utility of the grid connectivity method for circulation and dispersion studies in regions of complex geometry.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2010
Title Using a composite grid approach in a complex coastal domain to estimate estuarine residence time
DOI 10.1016/j.cageo.2009.11.008
Authors John C. Warner, W. Rockwell Geyer, Herman G. Arango
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Computers & Geosciences
Index ID 70190411
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center