Author(s): Peter Bacopoulos
Keywords: Stronomic tides; Tidal residuals; Florida Atlantic coastline; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; South Atlantic Bight; Estuaries; Lagoons; Finite element method
Abstract: The development of a finite element model for the east coast of Florida is discussed with respect to establishing the tidal interconnectivity of this multiple inlet/barrier island system. A large-domain modeling approach is employed to allow for the simulation of tidal hydrodynamics in the western North Atlantic Ocean, over the continental shelf, and through the entire length of Florida’s Atlantic coastline. The Advanced Circulation (ADCIRC) model is applied to reproduce two-dimensional tidal flows throughout the computational domain in order to: 1) generate tidal residuals along the east coast of Florida; 2) examine the effect of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on tidal circulation occurring over the South Atlantic Bight. A finite element modeling approach is employed to provide for highly efficient adaptations of a pre-existing Western North Atlantic Tidal model domain, which encompasses the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean found west of the 60°W meridian. A series of convergence tests is applied in order to verify the spatial resolution used to describe nearshore regions and inland waterways. Model accuracy is evaluated on a waterlevel and velocity basis, through comparisons of model output to historical data at various sites found along Florida’s Atlantic coastline. It is envisioned that a resulting product of this modeling effort will provide a useful tool which could be applied to investigate a variety of tidally driven processes found along the east coast of Florida. Further, the identification of cross shelf dynamics on the South Atlantic Bight has direct implications to localized coastal models with open-ocean boundaries situated in Florida’s continental shelf waters.