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Experimental Methods: Operational Hydrodynamic Campaigns in Coastal Regions. Harbour and Coastal Applications

Author(s): Joaquin Sospedra, Maria Isabel Ruiz, Manuel Espino, Enrique Alvarez, Cesar Mosso, Marc Mestres and Augustin Sanchez-Arcilla

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Keywords: Field observations; Numerical simulations; Sensors; Applications; Harbours; Coasts


Harbour and coastal infrastructure and management decisions require robust predictions, with limited errors and high resolutions due to the large economic impact they have. However, near the coast there are important gradients in topobathymetry that result in errors well in excess of those found for deep-water domains. As an illustration, the average error for Hs as a global average is below 0.10m while for coastal domains this error can exceed 50% of the observed value. This situation hinders reliable and efficient decision making for engineering or management applications. It can only be circumvented by a smart combination of numerical models with in situ observation campaigns, supplemented by satellite data when available, so that each data source provides information at the resolution and horizon for which it is better suited. 

This paper will explore, for harbour domains representative of met-ocean conditions along the Spanish coast, how to combine hydrodynamic a priori simulations of wave/current fields with in situ data and satellite images, to achieve an efficient design of field campaigns for irregular coastal domains that include the harbour geometry and its surrounding beach tracts. The analysis will deal with the selection and deployment of sensors as a function of dominant meteooceanographic factors and stakeholders’ requirements. It will tackle key variables such as wind velocity, atmospheric pressure, wave/current/level fields and some associated water quality parameters. The emphasis will be on sensor performance as a function of domain geometry, water depth and the energy level of the dominant meteo-oceanographic climate. This will be the basis to determine minimum observational periods, sampling policy and optimal deployment sites, considering the characteristics of the underlying hydrodynamics but also the practical engineering applications of the resulting data

The proposed approach will be illustrated for an Atlantic and a Mediterranean harbour, where the resulting combination of operational simulations (figure A) and observations will be ingested into an Environmental Control Framework tool developed by the Spanish Harbour Authorities (Puertos del Estado). This will facilitate the transfer to practical, addedvalue applications such as for instance harbour exploitation, beach water quality and similar. The paper will end with some remarks on how to extrapolate this approach to other coastal domains or applications, such as aquaculture, and how to make the most of the commercially available hydrodynamic sensors. 


Year: 2019

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