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Coastal Change Processes

Fire Island, New York Study Site

Numerical Modeling

image of numerical simulation of flow over idealized shore face connected ridge systems

Numerical simulation of flow over idealized shore-face connected ridge system: currents (black arrows) and bathymetry (color). Note: cross shore velocity scaled to allow flow directions to be more easily discerned.

image of numerical simulation of flow along the fire island coastline

Numerical simulation of flow along the Fire Island coastline. Black arrows show magnitude of ocean currents and colors are wave bottom stresses.

Numerical modeling simulations are being conducted to simulate ocean currents, waves, and sediment movement on the inner shelf using both idealized settings and realistic conditions. A series of numerical experiments are being performed to examine the oceanographic processes that maintain the shore face connected ridge system. In an idealized experiment the numerical model simulates flow over a series of repeated submerged ridges. Theory identifies that the flow should be deflected offshore over the ridge crests and onshore in the troughs. Numerical results shown are consistent with the theory, showing flow being deflected offshore over the crests (orange colors) and back onshore in the troughs (blue color). Numerical results shown are consistent with the theory, showing flow being deflected offshore over the crests (blue colors) and back onshore in the troughs (orange color). Magnitude of the cross shore component is only a few percent of the total flow, and was scaled in the figure to make the directions identifiable. However, these small variations in the flow are the significant process that maintains the features. Additional simulations with sediment fluxes and on realistic bathymetry are currently being performed.

A series of numerical experiments are also being conducted with a realistic bathymetry of the study region. The currents in this region are driven by tides, winds, and wave driven flows. The model simulations will investigate the oceanographic conditions on the inner shelf, wave enhanced bottom stresses, and sediment fluxes. (Warner and others, in press)


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