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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 4
Ocean Sci., 14, 769-782, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Ocean Sci., 14, 769-782, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Aug 2018

Research article | 08 Aug 2018

Frictional interactions between tidal constituents in tide-dominated estuaries

Huayang Cai1, Marco Toffolon2, Hubert H. G. Savenije3, Qingshu Yang1, and Erwan Garel4 Huayang Cai et al.
  • 1Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Research, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • 2Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Trento, Italy
  • 3Department of Water Management, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands
  • 4Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA), University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal

Abstract. When different tidal constituents propagate along an estuary, they interact because of the presence of nonlinear terms in the hydrodynamic equations. In particular, due to the quadratic velocity in the friction term, the effective friction experienced by both the predominant and the minor tidal constituents is enhanced. We explore the underlying mechanism with a simple conceptual model by utilizing Chebyshev polynomials, enabling the effect of the velocities of the tidal constituents to be summed in the friction term and, hence, the linearized hydrodynamic equations to be solved analytically in a closed form. An analytical model is adopted for each single tidal constituent with a correction factor to adjust the linearized friction term, accounting for the mutual interactions between the different tidal constituents by means of an iterative procedure. The proposed method is applied to the Guadiana (southern Portugal–Spain border) and Guadalquivir (Spain) estuaries for different tidal constituents (M2, S2, N2, O1, K1) imposed independently at the estuary mouth. The analytical results appear to agree very well with the observed tidal amplitudes and phases of the different tidal constituents. The proposed method could be applicable to other alluvial estuaries with a small tidal amplitude-to-depth ratio and negligible river discharge.

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