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Fast hydrodynamic model for medium- and long-term dispersion in seawater in the English Channel and southern North Sea, qualitative and quantitative validation by radionuclide tracers.

P. Bailly du Boisa, F. Dumasb
Ocean Modelling 9 (2005) 169-210

Document type > *Article de revue

Keywords > computer code, fresh water / seawater, thermodynamic, tracers

Research Unit > IRSN/DEI/SECRE/LRC

Authors > BAILLY DU BOIS Pascal

Publication Date > 20/03/2005


The database for medium- and long-term model validation using 121Sb released by the La Hague reproc­essing plant includes 1400 measurements performed between 1987 and 1994 in the English Channel and the North Sea and data for each release since 1982. Antimony-125 has a conservative behaviour in water masses over a period of several years. These data can be used qualitatively and quantitatively to compare the measured concentrations with the calculated ones and quantities of tracers. Tritium measurements are also available for model calibration. The main adjustment parameters of this model are the sources of wind data used and the calculation method for evaluating wind stress at the sea surface. With these parameters, the fluxes of radionuclides and water masses in the English Channel and the North Sea were balanced for the whole period of field measurements (1987-1994). The correlation factor between individual measurements in seawater and calcu­lation results is 0.88 with an average error of ±54%, the error attributable to the measurement process being 15% on average. The mean flux through the Dover Strait is 126,000m3 s-1, close front the one obtained from previous studies [Salomon, J.C., Breton, M., Guéguéniat, P. 1993. Computed residual flow through the Dover Strait. Oceanologica Acta 16 (5-6) 449-455; Bailly du Bois, P., Salomon, J.C., Gandon, R., Guéguéniat, P. 1995. A quantitative estimate of English Channel water fluxes into the North Sea front 1987 to 1992 based on radiotracer distribution. Journal of Marine Systems 6 (5-6) 457-481, Prandle, D., Ballard, G., Flatt, D., Harrison, A.J., Jones, S.E. Knight, P.J., Loch, S. McManus, J. Player, R. Tappin, A., 1996. Com­bining modelling and monitoring to determine fluxes of water, dissolved and particulate metals through the Dover Strait. Continental Shelf Research 16 (2) 237-257]. This model appears as a robust tool for modelling long-term dispersion at a low computation cost (it takes less than 1 h to simulate one year on a personal com­puter). It could forecast consequences of controlled or accidental releases of soluble substances in seawater under realistic conditions or calculate water masses fluxes and transit times.

a) Laboratoire de Radioécologie de Cherbourg- Octeville, Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), Direction de l'Environnement et de l'Intervention, rue Max Pol Fouchet, B. P. 10, 50130 Octeville, France

b) Institut Français de Recherches pour l'Exploitation de la Mer, Service des Applications Opérationnelles, B. P. 70, 29280 Plouzané, France


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