Tides, Tidal Constituents, St. Johns River, Salinity, Forcing Mechanisms


The focus of this thesis is the forcing mechanisms incorporated with salinity transport for the Lower St. Johns River. There are two primary analyses performed: a historical data analysis of primary forcing mechanisms to determine the importance of each individual influence, and a tidal hydrodynamics analysis for the Lower St. Johns River to determine the required tidal constituents for an accurate resynthesis. This thesis is a preliminary effort in understanding salinity transport for the Lower St. Johns River for engineering projects such as the dredging of navigation canals and freshwater withdrawal from the river. The analysis of the physical forcing mechanisms is performed by examining the impact of precipitation, tides, and wind advection on historical salinity measurements. Three 30-day periods were selected for the analysis, to correspond with representative peak, most-variable, and low-salinity periods for 1999. The analysis displays that wind advection is the dominant forcing mechanism for the movement of salinity over a 30 day duration; however all mechanisms have an impact at some level. The dominant forcing mechanism is also dependent on the period of record examined where tidal influence is vital for durations of hours to a day, while freshwater inflow has more significance over a longer period due to climatological variation. A two-dimensional finite difference numerical model is utilized to generate a one month tidal elevations and velocities simulations that incorporates geometry, nonlinear advection and quadratic bottom friction. Several combinations of tidal constituents are extracted from this modeled tidal signal to investigate which combination of tidal constituents produces an accurate tidal resynthesis for the Lower St. Johns River. The analysis displays the need for 39 total tidal harmonic constituents to accurately resynthesize the original tidal signal. Additionally, due to the nonlinear nature of shallow water, the influence of the overtides for upstream or downstream locations in the Lower St. Johns River is shown to be spatially variable for different frequencies depending on the geometry. The combination of the constituent analysis and the historical analysis provides the basis information needed for the development of an accurate salinity transport model for the Lower St. Johns River.


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Graduation Date



Hagen, Scott


Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Release Date

May 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)