Turbulence and Mixing in the Environment: Multi-Device Study in a Sub-tropical Estuary

Suara, Kabir, Brown, Richard J., & Chanson, Hubert (2015) Turbulence and Mixing in the Environment: Multi-Device Study in a Sub-tropical Estuary. Hydraulic Model Report, CH99/15. School of Civil Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld.

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In an estuary, mixing and dispersion result from a combination of large-scale advection and smallscale turbulence, which are complex to estimate. The predictions of scalar transport and mixing are often inferred and rarely accurate, due to inadequate understanding of the contributions of these difference scales to estuarine recirculation. A multi-device field study was conducted in a small sub-tropical estuary under neap tide conditions with near-zero fresh water discharge for about 48 hours. During the study, acoustic Doppler velocimeters (ADV) were sampled at high frequency (50 Hz), while an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) and global positioning system (GPS) tracked drifters were used to obtain some lower frequency spatial distribution of the flow parameters within the estuary. The velocity measurements were complemented with some continuous measurement of water depth, conductivity, temperature and some other physiochemical parameters. Thorough quality control was carried out by implementation of relevant error removal filters on the individual data set to intercept spurious data. A triple decomposition (TD) technique was introduced to access the contributions of tides, resonance and ‘true’ turbulence in the flow field. The time series of mean flow measurements for both the ADCP and drifter were consistent with those of the mean ADV data when sampled within a similar spatial domain. The tidal scale fluctuation of velocity and water level were used to examine the response of the estuary to tidal inertial current. The channel exhibited a mixed type wave with a typical phase-lag between 0.035π– 0.116π. A striking feature of the ADV velocity data was the slow fluctuations, which exhibited large amplitudes of up to 50% of the tidal amplitude, particularly in slack waters. Such slow fluctuations were simultaneously observed in a number of physiochemical properties of the channel. The ensuing turbulence field showed some degree of anisotropy. For all ADV units, the horizontal turbulence ratio ranged between 0.4 and 0.9, and decreased towards the bed, while the vertical turbulence ratio was on average unity at z = 0.32 m and approximately 0.5 for the upper ADV (z = 0.55 m). The result of the statistical analysis suggested that the ebb phase turbulence field was dominated by eddies that evolved from ejection type process, while that of the flood phase contained mixed eddies with significant amount related to sweep type process. Over 65% of the skewness values fell within the range expected of a finite Gaussian distribution and the bulk of the excess kurtosis values (over 70%) fell within the range of -0.5 and +2. The TD technique described herein allowed the characterisation of a broader temporal scale of fluctuations of the high frequency data sampled within the durations of a few tidal cycles. The study provides characterisation of the ranges of fluctuation required for an accurate modelling of shallow water dispersion and mixing in a sub-tropical estuary.

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ID Code: 84750
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: Turbulence, acoustic Doppler velocimetry (ADV),, acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP), GPS tracked drifter, triple decomposition technique, Reynolds stress tensor, vertical profiling, turbulence statistics, flow measurements, tidal current, resonance, frequency domain filtering
ISBN: 9781742721385
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 12 Jun 2015 00:22
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2015 03:28

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