Modeling of Estuarial Hydrodynamics and Water Quality

by Gerald T. Orlob, Univ of California, Davis, Davis, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water for Resource Development


The estuary is perhaps the most complex environmental system with which the analyst must deal. Driven largely by tides and hydrologic fluxes, its hydromechanical behavior is further modified by losses and accretions within its boundaries and by density gradients set up by natural variations in salinity, temperature and suspended sediment. Moreover, its complex geometry is constantly changing due to natural forces and the vagaries of man. Adding additional complexities of myriad water quality constituents with their unique physical, chemical and biological actions and interactions, some of which even influence hydromechanical behavior, mathematical modelers have identified the estuary as a prime target for their analytical skills. The historical development of estuarial modeling is traced. The present state of the 'art' and some areas that remain to challenge the systems analyst are described.

Subject Headings: Hydrologic models | Water quality | Estuaries | Hydrodynamics | Suspended sediment | System analysis | Salt water | Water resources

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