Fate of large-scale vortices in idealized tidal lagoons

Carolanne V.M. Vouriot, Athanasios Angeloudis*, Stephan C. Kramer, Matthew D. Piggott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The generation and evolution of tidally-induced vortices in coastal and estuarine regions can influence water quality and sedimentary processes. These effects must be taken into consideration in the development of coastal reservoirs, barrages and lagoons, among other environmental flow applications. Results are presented here on the fate of large-scale vortices within confined tidally-forced domains. A computational approach is employed using the Thetis depth-averaged coastal ocean modeling framework. Initially, two test cases serve to demonstrate model capability in capturing the formation of dipoles downstream of oscillatory flow channels. Diagnostic quantities of vorticity and localized circulation are used to track the 2-D vortex evolution and dissipation. This approach is then applied to tidal lagoon geometries, where flows through the inlet induce a pair of counter rotating vortices (dipoles). Idealized model geometries and inlet conditions are used to determine the impact of three design parameters on large-scale vortical structures: (a) the lagoon geometry aspect ratio in the horizontal plane, (b) the inlet width and (c) the bathymetry profile as the coastline is approached. The dependence of vortex flushing behavior on the dimensionless ratio Wi/UT (where Wi is the width of the inlet channel, U is the maximum velocity and T is the tidal period) is reaffirmed, while the side walls and the sloping bathymetry are found to affect the vortex dissipation process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Fluid Mechanics
Issue number2
Early online date19 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Environmental impacts
  • Tidal lagoons
  • Tidal modeling
  • Vortices


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