Dispersion in Homogeneous Estuary Flow

by Edward R. Holley, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL,
Donald R. F. Harleman, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; MIT, Cambridge, MA,
Hugo B. Fischer, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 8, Pg. 1691-1709

Document Type: Journal Paper


The effects of the transverse variations of velocity on dispersion in oscillatory, estuary flow are investigated. The dispersion coefficient (E) is found to depend on a parameter T' = T/Tc, in which T is the tidal period and Tc is a characteristic time for turbulent diffusion. Applying the relationship between E and T' to some estuaries, it is concluded that the effects of the transverse variations of velocity may cause E to be as much as 10 times greater than it would be if only the vertical variations were considered. However, for continuous injection conditions, this possible increase in E appears to cause calculated concentrations to change by only 10% to 15% of the maximum concentration. Thus, under the conditions and assumptions stated in the paper, equations such as Elder's or Taylor's may be used to estimate E for continuous injections into estuaries. In other cases, it may be desirable to know the transverse distribution of velocity in order to estimate E.

Subject Headings: Estuaries | Homogeneity | Fluid velocity | Velocity distribution | Oscillations | Oscillatory flow | Parameters (statistics) | Tides

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