Finite-Difference Convection Errors

by David A. Bella, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR,
William J. Grenney, (A.M.ASCE), Res. Assoc.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 6, Pg. 1361-1375

Document Type: Journal Paper


Finite-difference methods are making possible more complete mathematical models of aquatic ecosystems than was previously possible with only analytical methods. A basic component of most models of aquatic ecosystems involves the convection or movement of materials by flowing waters. The errors associated with several finite-difference models of convection are investigated. These errors were found to distort results in ways that are not easily detected. The tendency to numerically spread or mix materials was found to be a common error, along with production of oscillation and a tendency to skew distributions. A method of estimating and controlling these errors is developed and investigated.

Subject Headings: Errors (statistics) | Mathematical models | Aquatic habitats | Finite difference method | Hydrologic models | Oscillations | Skewness

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