Simulating vegetation effects on flows in 3D using an unstructured grid model: model development and validation

Abstract

Prevalence of vegetation (either submerged or emergent) in shallow water significantly affects the flow and turbulence structure in this environment. In this paper, we develop a new 3D unstructured grid hydrostatic model that accounts for the 3D effects of vegetation on flows. The model uses a semi-implicit time stepping method and treats the new vegetation-related terms implicitly to enhance numerical stability, so the time step does not need to be reduced as compared with the no-vegetation cases. The stability is also independent of the vegetation parameters, so as to efficiently account for large shear that can occur around the canopy. We validate the model using lab data before applying it to a field study in San Francisco Bay-Delta to illustrate the influence of the vegetation on the flow structure as well as tidal energetics. The efficiency of the model enabled by the implicit method allows, for the first time, the simulation of the vegetation effects during multi-year evolution of vegetation in full three dimensions at large spatial scales.

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Funding

This research is funded by the California Department of Water Resources. Simulations presented in this paper were conducted using the following computational facilities: (1) Sciclone at the College of William and Mary which were provided with the assistance of the National Science Foundation, the Virginia Port Authority, and Virginia’s Commonwealth Technology Research Fund; (2) the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE; Grant TG-OCE130032), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number OCI-1053575; (3) NASA’s Pleiades.

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Correspondence to Yinglong J. Zhang.

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Responsible Editor: Eric Deleersnijder

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Zhang, Y.J., Gerdts, N., Ateljevich, E. et al. Simulating vegetation effects on flows in 3D using an unstructured grid model: model development and validation. Ocean Dynamics 70, 213–230 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-019-01333-8

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Keywords

  • Vegetation
  • SCHISM
  • San Francisco Bay & Delta, USA