Predicting Tidal Currents in San Francisco Bay Using a Spectral Model

by Jon R. Burau, US Geological Survey, United States,
Ralph T. Cheng, US Geological Survey, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


This paper describes the formulation of a spectral (or frequency based) model which solves the linearized shallow water equations. To account for highly variable basin bathymetry, spectral solutions are obtained using the finite element method which allows the strategic placement of the computation points in the specific areas of interest or in areas where the gradients of the dependent variables are expected to be large. Model results are compared with data using simple statistics to judge overall model performance in the San Francisco Bay estuary. Once the model is calibrated and verified, prediction of the tides and tidal currents in San Francisco Bay is accomplished by applying astronomical tides (harmonic constants deduced from field data) at the prediction time along the model boundaries.

Subject Headings: Tides | Finite element method | Bays | Field tests | Hydrologic models | Mathematics | Linear functions | Basins | California

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