A depth-integrated model for weakly dispersive, turbulent, and rotational fluid flows

Dae Hong Kim, Patrick J. Lynett, Scott A. Socolofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


A set of weakly dispersive Boussinesq-type equations, derived to include viscosity and vorticity terms in a physically consistent manner, is presented in conservative form. The model includes the approximate effects of bottom-induced turbulence, in a depth-integrated sense, as a second-order correction. Associated with this turbulence, vertical and horizontal rotational effects are captured. While the turbulence and horizontal vorticity models are simplified, a model with known physical limitations has been derived that includes the quadratic bottom friction term commonly added in an ad hoc manner to the inviscid equations. An interesting result of this derivation is that one should take care when adding such ad hoc models; it is clear from this exercise that (1) it is not necessary to do so - the terms can be included through a consistent derivation from the viscous primitive equations - and (2) one cannot properly add the quadratic bottom friction term without also adding a number of additional terms in the integrated governing equations. To solve these equations numerically, a highly accurate and stable model is developed. The numerical method uses a fourth-order MUSCL-TVD scheme to solve the leading order (shallow water) terms. For the dispersive terms, a cell averaged finite volume method is implemented. To verify the derived equations and the numerical model, four cases of verifications are given. First, solitary wave propagation is examined as a basic, yet fundamental, test of the models ability to predict dispersive and nonlinear wave propagation with minimal numerical error. Vertical velocity distributions of spatially uniform flows are compared with existing theory to investigate the effects of the newly included horizontal vorticity terms. Other test cases include comparisons with experiments that generate strong vorticity by the change of bottom bathymetry as well as by tidal jets through inlet structures. Very reasonable agreements are observed for the four cases, and the results provide some information as to the importance of dispersion and horizontal vorticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-214
Number of pages17
JournalOcean Modelling
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Boussinesq equations
  • Finite volume method
  • Turbulent flow
  • Vorticity


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