Application of a finite element model (TELEMAC) to computing the wind induced response of the Irish Sea

Jones, J. Eric; Davies, Alan M.. 2006 Application of a finite element model (TELEMAC) to computing the wind induced response of the Irish Sea. Continental Shelf Research, 26 (12-13). 1519-1541.

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Initially a brief overview of the problem of computing the wind-induced circulation on the west coast of Britain is reviewed together with storm surge modelling. To date this work has primarily been performed with finite difference models. However, here new work is presented using a finite element model with a range of mesh refinements in shallow water regions to examine the influence of mesh resolution upon the wind-induced circulation off the west coast of Britain. Steady state current fields are computed for uniform westerly and southerly winds and compared with a uniform grid (of order 7 km) finite difference model solution. Calculations show that in deep water regions away from the coastal influence, the large-scale circulation features in the finite element solution are in good agreement with those found in the finite difference model. This suggests that they can be adequately resolved on a 7 km mesh. In the nearshore region and within estuaries a significantly finer mesh is required, with the variable mesh finite element model showing significant small scale variability in the nearshore area. Refining the mesh in the Mersey and using an accurate topographic data set, shows that although the larger scale features in the estuary can be resolved in the coarser mesh model, accurate topography is required to model their exact location. In addition smaller scale features are found that were not resolved in the coarser mesh models. Due to the effects of “wetting and drying” and the importance of non-linear processes in shallow regions difficulties occurred in de-tiding the full solution in order to determine the wind forced residual. Determining the wind forced solution in shallow water from a calculation in which wind and tidal forcing are included poses problems as to how to “de-tide” the solution in such a highly non-linear region. An approach based upon the harmonic analysis of the total solution, rather than subtracting a “tide only” solution is shown to be most effective and has implications for storm surge prediction. General and specific conclusions on the importance of highly accurate bathymetry, good mesh resolution and de-tiding method upon the accuracy of the wind forced solution in nearshore regions are summarized in the final part of the paper. The implications for storm surge prediction together with suggestions for future research to enhance the accuracy of storm surge prediction, namely “the way forward” are given at the end of the paper.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: POL Programmes
ISSN: 02784343
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 23 Aug 2012 13:16 +0 (UTC)

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