Modelling tide-surge interaction effects using finite volume and finite element models of the Irish Sea

Xing, Jiuxing; Jones, Eric; Davies, Alan M.; Hall, Philip. 2011 Modelling tide-surge interaction effects using finite volume and finite element models of the Irish Sea. Ocean Dynamics, 61 (8). 1137-1174.

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An unstructured mesh model of the west coast of Britain, covering the same domain and using topography and open boundary forcing that are identical to a previous validated uniform grid finite difference model of the region, is used to compare the performance of a finite volume (FV) and a finite element (FE) model of the area in determining tide-surge interaction in the region. Initial calculations show that although qualitatively both models give comparable tidal solutions in the region, comparison with observations shows that the FV model tends to under-estimate tidal amplitudes and hence background tidal friction in the eastern Irish Sea. Storm surge elevations in the eastern Irish Sea due to westerly, northerly and southerly uniform wind stresses computed with the FV model tend to be slightly higher than those computed with the FE model, due to differences in background tidal friction. However, both models showed comparable non-linear tide-surge interaction effects for all wind directions, suggesting that they can reproduce the extensive tide-surge interaction processes that occur in the eastern Irish Sea. Following on from this model comparison study, the physical processes contributing to surge generation and tide-surge interaction in the region are examined. Calculations are performed with uniform wind stresses from a range of directions, and the balance of various terms in the hydrodynamic equations is examined. A detailed comparison of the spatial variability of time series of non-linear bottom friction and non-linear momentum advection terms at six adjacent nodes at two locations in water depths of 20 and 6 m showed some spatial variability from one node to another. This suggests that even in the near coastal region, where water depths are of the order of 6 m and the mesh is fine (of order 0.5 km), there is significant spatial variability in the non-linear terms. In addition, distributions of maximum bed stress due to tides and wind forcing in nearshore regions show appreciable spatial variability. This suggests that intensive measurement campaigns and very high-resolution mesh models are required to validate and reproduce the non-linear processes that occur in these regions and to predict extreme bed stresses that can give rise to sediment movement. High-resolution meshes will also be required in pollution transport problems

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1616-7341
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 15 Aug 2011 14:28 +0 (UTC)

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