Stress and Tidal Current in a Well-Mixed Estuary

by M. Robinson Swift, Asst. Prof. of Mechanical Engrg.; Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.,
Barbaros Celikkol, Assoc. Prof. of Mechanical Engrg.; Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.,
Ronnal Reichard, Doctoral Candidate; Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 7, Pg. 785-799

Document Type: Journal Paper


A procedure for calculating the vertical shear stress distribution in tidal channels of well-mixed estuaries from current profile measurements is formulated. A linearized boundary layer form of the Navier-Stokes equation and an eddy viscosity representation of Reynolds shear stress are used to determine the depth and time dependence of current velocity and stress. A lower (near bottom) boundary condition on stress is employed rather than the usual no-slip condition on velocity. A verification experiment is described in which the theoretical model is used to calculate stress from current profile data taken in a tidal channel over a half tidal cycle. The predicted stress is then compared with a direct independent measurement of Reynolds shear stress. It is shown that for a one-layer estuary model best results are obtained using an eddy viscosity having a quadratic depth dependence.

Subject Headings: Shear stress | Tides | Estuaries | Vertical loads | Stress distribution | Navier-Stokes equations | Eddy (fluid dynamics) | Viscosity

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