One-dimensional particle tracking with streamline preserving junctions for flows in channel networks
A pseudo-three-dimensional particle tracking model of drifter paths has been developed to study the movement of scalars through a complex network of tidal channels and junctions. To better simulate dispersion caused by bifurcation and merging at junctions, a localized model is proposed in which particles move along potential flow streamlines through junctions. The model is applied to the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta in the California Central Valley, and the approach reproduces the observed ultimate fate of the endangered native fish Delta smelt more accurately than a model that fully randomizes particle positions at junctions. The new model also reproduces the very large dispersion that has been previously inferred from Delta-wide heat balances; this large dispersion appears to be associated with flow splits at junctions. Overall, the streamline-following model is likely to be more accurate for long-term planning and management simulations of such complex estuaries than more commonly used cross-sectionally averaged Lagrangian transport equation solvers, which randomize concentration distributions of scalars at junctions, and thereby do not reproduce the increased dispersion mechanisms.
Sridharan, VK; Monismith, SG; Fong, DA; Hench, JL
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