Examination of residence time and its relevance to water quality within a coastal mega-structure: The Palm Jumeirah Lagoon

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Journal Article
Journal of Hydrology, 2012, 468-469 pp. 111 - 119
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A numerical modeling study was carried out to compute average residence time in the semi-enclosed lagoon formed by the man-made island Palm Jumeirah (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), termed Palm Jumeirah Lagoon (PJL). The PJL encompasses a main island axis with 17 'fronds' radiating from this axis, all encapsulated within a semi-circular breakwater system. A coupled hydrodynamic and solute transport model was developed for the waters of the PJL, based on depth-integrated conservation equations. Numerical model predictions were then verified against a set of field-measured hydrodynamic data. Model-predicted water elevations and velocities were in good agreement with field measurements. Residence times for this tidal dominated system were investigated through numerical experiments using a conservative tracer as a surrogate. The results indicated that average residence time varied spatially throughout the PJL depending on tidal flushing. Average residence time was unequally distributed throughout the PJL, with the eastern side showing higher flushing times than the western side. In addition, there were also differences between sections of the PJL in average residence time of a tracer: between frond tips and the surrounding breakwater the tracer was reduced to 30-40% of its original value after approximately 1. week, while a tracer placed between the fronds was reduced to 30-40% of its value after 20. days. The findings of this research provide vital information for understanding the water transport process in this man-made lagoon, and will be important in assessing the potential impact on coastal water quality conditions in coastal developments within the Middle East. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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