Two-Dimensional Circulation Modeling of the Pamlico River Estuary, North Carolina

by G. L. Giese, Hydrologist; U.S. Geological Survey, Raleigh, United States,
Jerad D. Bales, Hydrologist; U.S. Geological Survey, Raleigh, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Estuarine and Coastal Modeling


A two dimensional, vertically averaged, unsteady flow model was applied to a 50- kilometer reach of the Pamlico River estuary, North Carolina. The model computational grid, which consists of about 16,000 square cells, each 200 meters on a side, was developed from more than one million depth soundings. Information from a comprehensive data-collection network, including six water-level stations, six temperature and salinity measurement stations, and one wind measurement station, was used to provide data for boundary conditions and for model calibration. Preliminary model results for this ongoing study were sensitive to the presence of a lateral water-level gradient at the downstream boundary. For the simulation period, water-level oscillations at the downstream boundary were much more important in controlling Pamlico River flows than were local winds blowing over the surface of the estuary. Average absolute differences between observed and simulated water levels at two measurement sites were less than 2 centimeters for the 8-day calibration period.

Subject Headings: Two-dimensional models | Water circulation | Estuaries | Rivers and streams | Two-dimensional flow | River flow | Flow measurement | Water level | North Carolina

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