Main content area

A revised dynamic model for suspended particulate matter (SPM) in coastal areas

Håkanson, Lars
Aquatic geochemistry 2006 v.12 no.4 pp. 327-364
chlorophyll, coastal water, coasts, dynamic models, ecosystems, equations, estuaries, geochemistry, latitude, mineralization, mixing, monitoring, morphometry, particulates, prediction, primary productivity, salinity, seasonal variation, surface water, testing, turbidity, uncertainty, water quality, water temperature
This paper presents a general, process-based model for suspended particulate matter (SPM) in defined coastal areas (the ecosystem scale). The model is based on ordinary differential equations and the calculation time (dt) is 1 month to reflect seasonal variations. The model has been tested using data from 17 Baltic coastal areas of different character and shown to predict mean monthly SPM-concentrations in water and Secchi depth (a measure of water clarity) very well (generally within the uncertainty bands given by the empirical data). The model is based on processes regulating inflow, outflow and internal fluxes. The separation between the surface-water layer and the deep-water layer is not done in the traditional manner from water temperature data but from sedimentological criteria (from the wave base which regulates where wind/wave-induced resuspension occurs). The model calculates the primary production of SPM (within the coastal areas), resuspension, sedimentation, mixing, mineralization and retention of SPM. The SPM-model is simple to apply in practice since all driving variables may be readily accessed from maps or regular monitoring programs. The model has also been extensively tested by means of sensitivity and uncertainty tests and the most important factor regulating model predictions of SPM-concentrations in coastal water is generally the value used for the SPM-concentration in the sea outside the given coastal area. The obligatory driving variables include four morphometric parameters (coastal area, section area, mean and maximum depth), latitude (to predict surface water and deep water temperatures, stratification and mixing), salinity, chlorophyll and the Secchi depth or SPM-concentration in the sea outside the given coastal area. Many of the structures in the model are general and could potentially be used for coastal areas other than those included in this study, e.g., for open coasts, estuaries or areas influenced by tidal variations.