Modelling hydrodynamic processes within Pumicestone Passage, Northern Moreton Bay, Queensland

Larsen, Genevieve Ruth (2007) Modelling hydrodynamic processes within Pumicestone Passage, Northern Moreton Bay, Queensland. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Estuaries can be considered as vital natural resources and are unique ecosystems at the interface between terrestrial and marine environments. The increase of population density centred on these coastal features and associated anthropogenic activities such as trade, industry, agriculture and recreation can adversely affect these sensitive environments.

The Pumicestone Passage, located in northern Moreton Bay, Australia, is one such estuarine environment where there are concerns about degradation of water quality resulting from rapid land use change. These changes are both immediate to the Passage and within its wider catchment. Of notable concern are the outbreaks of Lyngbya (a toxic blue-green algae) in the Passage itself and near its interface with Deception Bay to the south. Other factors of concern are increased suspended and dissolved loads, and maintenance of ecosystem integrity.

In this study, numerical modelling, graphical methods and water surface elevation and current velocity parameter calculations are used to describe hydrological processes in the Pumicestone Passage. A hydrodynamic model is developed using the modelling software SMS and RMA2 as a foundation for future hydrodynamic and water quality modelling. In addition, observed data are used to interpret general hydrodynamic behaviour in the passage, and determine various parameters for use in model development and calibration. Tidal prediction is also discussed and used for model calibration.

To support the modelling and for preliminary interpretation of hydrodynamic processes within the Passage, measurements were made in the field of (a) water surface elevation variation at 17 sites; (b) tidal current velocities in four of the tributary creeks and at the northern boundary; (c) volumetric flow rates at two cross-sections within the Passage; and (d) cross-sectional bathymetry at sites where tidal current velocities were measured in the creeks.

In general, examination of the observational data reveals a number of important processes in the Pumicestone Passage. Almost all sites within Pumicestone Passage and its tributaries are flood dominant indicating that tidal storage and bottom friction effects are significant. Mesotidal ranges occur at sites close to the southern boundary of the passage, however, bottom friction greatly reduces the tidal response at the remaining sites which results in microtidal ranges. The influence of both the southern and northern tides can be seen in the deformation of tidal waveforms in the central passage. Extensive intertidal areas at and inside the northern inlet to the Passage markedly reduce tidal ranges in the northern estuary and its tributary creeks.

Issues involved in hydrodynamic model development and performance are discussed. Overall, model results for the southern estuary have satisfactory correlation with observed data whereas model results for the northern estuary are less satisfactory. In addition, water surface elevation variation model results are generally more accurate than tidal current velocity model results. Reasons for the differences between model and observed values are considered and possible solutions given. Factors discussed relate to boundary condition locations, resolution of bathymetric and geographical data, mesh development methods and parameter assignment.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

2,310 since deposited on 03 Dec 2008
101 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 16634
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Keywords: estuary, hydrodynamic modelling, harmonic analysis, tidal prediction, RMA2, Pumicestone Passage, tides, tidal currents
Divisions: Past > Schools > Biogeoscience
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Genevieve Ruth Larsen
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:07
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2016 06:35

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page