Numerical Simulation, ADCIRC, SWAN, Coupling, St. Johns River, Hurricane Floyd


This dissertation presents the development of a two-dimensional St. Johns River model and the coupling of hydrodynamic and wave models for the simulation of storm tides. The hydrodynamic model employed for calculating tides and surges is ADCIRC-2DDI (ADvanced CIRCulation Model for Shelves, Coasts and Estuaries, Two-Dimensional Depth Integrated) developed by Luettich et al. (1992). The finite element based model solves the fully nonlinear shallow water equations in the generalized wave continuity form. Hydrodynamic applications are operated with the following forcings: 1) astronomical tides, 2) inflows from tributaries, 3) meteorological effects (winds and pressure), and 4) waves (wind-induced waves). The wave model applied for wind-induced wave simulation is the third-generation SWAN (Simulating WAves Nearshore), applicable to the estimation of wave parameters in coastal areas and estuaries. The SWAN model is governed by the wave action balance equation driven by wind, sea surface elevations and current conditions (Holthuijsen et al. 2004). The overall work is comprised of three major phases: 1) To develop a model domain that incorporates the entire East Coast of the United States, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, while honing in on the St. Johns River area; 2) To employ output from the SWAN model with the ADCIRC model and produce a uni-directional coupling of the two models in order to investigate the effects of the wave radiation stresses; 3) To couple the ADCIRC model with the SWAN model to describe the complete interactions of the two physical processes. Model calibration and comparisons are accomplished in three steps. First, astronomical tide simulation results are calibrated with historical NOS (National Ocean Service) tide data. Second, overland and riverine flows and meteorological effects are included, and computed river levels are compared with the historical NOS water level data. Finally, the storm tides generated by Hurricane Floyd are simulated and compared with historical data. This research results in a prototype for real-time simulation of tides and waves for flash flood and river-stage forecasting efforts of the NWS Forecasting Centers that border coastal areas. The following two main conclusions are reported: 1) regardless of whether one uses uni-coupling or coupling, wind-induced waves result in an approximately 10 – 15 % higher peak storm tide level than without any coupling; and 2) the wave-current interaction described by the coupling model results in decreasing peaks and increasing troughs in the storm tide hydrograph. Two main corollary conclusions are also drawn from a 122-day hindcast for the period spanning June 1 – October 1, 2005. First, wind forcing for the St. Johns River is equal to or greater than that of astronomic tides and generally supersedes the impact of inflows, while pressure variations have a minimal impact. Secondly, water levels inside the St. Johns River depend on the wind forcings in the deep ocean; however, if one applies an elevation hydrograph boundary condition from a large-scale domain model to a local-scale domain model the results are highly accurate.


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Graduation Date





Hagen, Scott


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)