Some Concepts of Estuarine Modeling
If an estuarine system is to be investigated using an oceanographic modeling approach, a decision must be made whether to use a simple and robust framework based on e.g. mass-balance considerations, or if a more advanced process-resolving three-dimensional (3-D) numerical model are necessary. Although the former are straightforward to apply, certain fundamental constraints must be fulfilled. 3-D modeling, even though requiring significant efforts to implement, generates an abundance of highly resolved data in time and space, which may lead to problems when attempting to specify the "representative state" of the system, a common goal in estuarine studies.In this thesis, different types of models suitable for investigating estuarine systems have been utilized in various settings. A mass-balance model was applied to investigate potential changes of water fluxes and salinities due to the restoration of a mangrove estuary in northern Colombia. Seiches, i.e. standing waves, in the Baltic Sea were simulated using a 2-D shallow-water model which showed that the dominating harmonic oscillation originates from a fjord seiche in the Gulf of Finland rather than being global. Another study pertaining to the Gulf of Finland used velocity-fields from a 3-D numerical model together with Lagrangian-trajectory analyses to investigate the mixing dynamics. The results showed that water from the Baltic proper is mixed with that from the river Neva over a limited zone in the inner parts of the Gulf. Lagrangian-trajectory analysis was finally also used as a tool to compare mass-balance and 3-D model results from the Gulf of Riga and the Bay of Gdansk, highlighting when and where each method is applicable.From the present thesis it can be concluded that the above described estuarine-modeling approaches not only require different levels of effort for their implementation, but also yield results of varying quality. If oceanographic aspects are to be taken into account within Integrated Coastal Zone Managment, which most likely should be the case, it is therefore important to decide as early as possible in the planning process which model to use, since this choice ultimately determines how much information about the physical processes characterizing the system the model can be expected to provide.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Earth sciences; Atmosphere and hydrosphere sciences; Meteorology; Oceanography Modeling Estuaries
Date of Publication:01/01/2005