Longitudinal Dispersion in Partially-Mixed Estuaries

by A. C. Wilber, Coll of William & Mary, Gloucester Point, VA, USA,
A. Y. Kuo, Coll of William & Mary, Gloucester Point, VA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


The longitudinal dispersion in partially-mixed estuaries was formulated to consist of two terms. The first term accounts for the dispersion due to the vertical and transverse shear of the tidal flow. The second term accounts for the transport by gravitational circulation. The dispersion due to gravitational circulation is found to depend on the local hydraulic conditions and longitudinal salinity gradient. The formulation of the dispersion coefficient was incorporated into a one-dimensional model and applied to the Rappahannock River of Virginia. Slackwater survey data were used to calibrate and verify the model. The longitudinal salinity distribution was simulated from March through October 1973, with freshwater inflow ranging from 11 to 450 m**3/sec.

Subject Headings: Estuaries | Salinity | Hydrologic models | Salt water | Water circulation | Water resources | Rivers and streams | Shear flow | Virginia | United States

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