Introduction to Estuarine Hydrodynamics


even for those who live thousands of kilometers away from estuaries, these systems provide food, allow commerce, and protect resources that are part of their daily life

Understanding the functioning of semienclosed costal bodies of water, including estuaries, has never been as pressing and as relevant to humans as it is today. Among the myriad of roles played by estuaries, both surface and subterranean, they serve as buffer zones to the encroachment of ocean waters into precious freshwater resources. One could argue that the functions of estuaries are only relevant to coastal regions. But even for those who live thousands of kilometers away from estuaries, these systems provide food, allow commerce, and protect resources that are part of their daily life. Therefore, becoming aware of how estuaries work is certainly pertinent in any collective effort to preserve those resources for these and future generations. This book considers such relevance of estuaries and attempts to target a wide audience.

After delivering dozens of short and semester-long courses on Estuarine Hydrodynamics, I began to think about putting the course materials in a textbook. These thoughts arose mainly from encouragement of colleagues who organized the courses and who have also provided platforms for enduring professional interactions among participants. I always thought that embarking on writing a thematic book, any book for that matter, would be a grueling task. And it was, indeed. I found that the most onerous part was beginning to write. But when I started, I was actually having fun, and any laboriousness became almost imperceptible.

In the preparation of this book, I particularly enjoyed generating most of the figures. In some instances of planning the production of a figure, I arrived at findings that I had not considered before. At some other times, I was entranced ensuring the appropriate functioning of the programs that performed data analysis and plotting. I hope that the scripts provided to illustrate some concepts, serve to help in understanding such concepts.

This book is targeted toward all people who want to study estuaries, or any semienclosed basin, regardless of their disciplinary focus. Although the text is meant to be introductory, it may go a bit deeper in some places. The intention of the book is to convey the complexity of the physical functioning of semienclosed basins, which ultimately determines their ecology, their water quality, and their sediment characteristics. Therefore, such complexity should be considered in any study. The intent of this blog is to keep exchanges flowing, as in semienclosed basins. In this instance, I’m referring to exchange of ideas. The blog will be a fabulous platform to sort out any points of clarification and to promote discussions contention.

A near-future activity will be to generate in (or translate to) Julia, a free data-analysis package, the Matlab programs provided in the book. For that, I will have to first learn the language. But feel free to contribute and make sure to stay tuned for updates to scripts.    

As I mentioned in the book’s preface, the end product can be regarded as a collaboration among innumerable colleagues who have contributed ideas, results and encouragement. Listing all of them would take the entire space of this blog post, but you know who you are and I’m very grateful to you. I am especially grateful to three people who contributed enormously to my early-career foundations: Robert Wilson, Larry Swanson and Larry Atkinson.

Introduction to Estuarine Hydrodynamics by Arnoldo Valle-Levinson

Enjoyed reading this article? Share it today:

About the Author: Arnoldo Valle-Levinson

Arnoldo Valle-Levinson is a professor in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Throughout his career, he has carried out observational and theoretical studies on exchange processes in semi-enclosed ocean basins. His work has concentrated on the hydrodynamics of fjords and estuaries, as well as of...

View the Author profile >

Latest Comments

Have your say!