The Patos Lagoon hydrodynamics during an El Niño event (1998)

Fernandes, Elisa Helena Leão; Dyer, Keith Richard; Möller Junior, Osmar Olinto; Niencheski, Luis Felipe Hax


TELEMAC-2D, a two-dimensional depth-averaged finite element flow model, has been chosen for modelling the hydrodynamics of the Patos Lagoon during the 1998 El Ni*no event. The model is initially calibrated against measurements carried out between 20 and 29/10/98, and good agreement is achieved between measured and predicted longitudinal velocities. Model validation is carried out by comparing measurements and predictions for one reference station in the estuarine area for the period between 23/05 and 06/06/98. Results indicate an excellent agreement between measurements and predictions, and the model is considered calibrated and validated for the Patos Lagoon hydrodynamics. A study of the Patos Lagoon hydrodynamics under the El Ni*no extreme conditions shows that the local and nonlocal wind effects associated with the freshwater discharge at the top of the lagoon promote longitudinal and lateral setup/ set-down mechanisms that influence the circulation. Results indicate that velocities in the lagoon and estuary during the extreme conditions observed in the El Ni*no period are much stronger than the normal periods. The response of the Patos Lagoon entrance to the local and non-local forcing is studied for the first time in terms of mthe inflow and outflow of water in the system. Results indicate that during the 1998 El Ni*no event the non-local forcing dominated, promoting exchanges that represent around 7% of the lagoon initial volume in the simulation. Strong freshwater discharges at the top of the lagoon combined with pressure gradients due to changes in elevation generated by the local and non-local wind favours the predominant seawards flow at the mouth, with outflows in the order of 5000m3 s_1. The strong outflow observed during the El Ni*no extreme flow conditions generates huge plumes of freshwater into the adjacent coastal area. r 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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