Encyclopedia of Estuaries

2016 Edition
| Editors: Michael J. Kennish

Residence Time

  • Lisa V. LucasEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8801-4_198


Residence time is defined as (1) the time taken by a water parcel or particle to leave a defined region of interest (Zimmerman, 1976; Delhez et al., 2004; de Brauwere et al., 2011) or (2) the time for the mass of a scalar (or the volume of freshwater; Dyer, 1997; Geyer, 1997) within a water body to be renewed, given a known renewal rate (Bolin and Rodhe, 1973; Geyer et al., 2000).

Essential concepts, applications, and methods of estimation

“Residence time” is a commonly used term to generally convey time spent by water, dissolved substances, or particles within a defined region or water body. However, specific definitions and mathematical descriptions of this transport timescale vary considerably in the literature, as pointed out by others (Takeoka, 1984; Monsen et al., 2002; Sheldon and Alber, 2002). The definitions provided above are two of the most common and differ significantly from each other in their underlying assumptions, precise meanings, and methods of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA