Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


A two-dimensional, longitudinal-vertical model for partially-mixed estuaries has been developed. The model provides intratidal predictions of surface level, velocity, and salinity through a semi-implicit finite-difference solution to the continuity and momentum equations and an explicit finite-difference solution to the salinity equation. The model was verified through comparison with analytical solutions, laboratory data, and prototype data. Following verification, the model was used to simulate the destratification-stratification cycle which occurs in the James River Estuary, Virginia, coincident with the spring-neap tidal cycle. In a second application to the James, a simulation of the movement of the salinity intrusion following a storm-generated freshwater flow pulse was conducted. Investigations were conducted into the reaction of a hypothetical estuary to step-like and pulse-like alterations in wind stress, tide range, boundary conditions and flow. It was noted that the reaction time-scale of the estuary was much longer than the time-scale of alterations in the forcing functions. Thus, in prototype estuaries in which forcing functions are periodic and/or randomly superimposed, truly steady-state conditions are never attained.



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