Estimation of residence time in a shallow back barrier lagoon, Hog Island Bay, Virginia, USA

David C. Fugate*, Carl T. Friedrichs, Ata Bilgili

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Hog Island Bay, Virginia, is a shallow back barrier lagoon that is subject to seasonal inputs of inorganic nitrogen and related episodes of hypoxia. Numerical simulations were carried out to estimate the importance of physical flushing times relative to biochemical turnover times known to be a few days or less within the system. A 2D vertically averaged finite element hydrodynamic model, which was designed to accommodate regular flooding and dewatering of shallow flats and marshes, was coupled with a particle tracking model to estimate median lagoon residence time and the spatial distribution of local residence time in the lagoon. The model was forced with observed tidal elevations and winds from the end of the growing season when hypoxia tends to occur. The median residence time estimated by numerical modeling is on the order of weeks (358 hours), and variations in tidal stage, tidal range and wind produced deviations in median residence time on the order of days. Residence times near the inlets were very short, while those near the mainland were long, showing that (1) horizontal mixing in the Bay is insufficient to successfully apply integral methods to obtain residence times, and (2) residence times near the mainland are long compared to timescales of biologically driven chemical transformations. Copyright ASCE 2006.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEstuarine and Coastal Modeling 2005 - Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Estuarine and Coastal Modeling
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventEstuarine and Coastal Modeling 2005 - Charleston, SC, United States
Duration: 31 Oct 20052 Nov 2005

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Estuarine and Coastal Modeling


ConferenceEstuarine and Coastal Modeling 2005
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCharleston, SC


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