The iFlow modelling framework v2.4: A modular idealized process-based model for flow and transport in estuaries

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Abstract

The iFlow modelling framework is a width-averaged model for the systematic analysis of the water motion and sediment transport processes in estuaries and tidal rivers. The distinctive solution method, a mathematical perturbation method, used in the model allows for identification of the effect of individual physical processes on the water motion and sediment transport and study of the sensitivity of these processes to model parameters. This distinction between processes provides a unique tool for interpreting and explaining hydrodynamic interactions and sediment trapping. iFlow also includes a large number of options to configure the model geometry and multiple choices of turbulence and salinity models. Additionally, the model contains auxiliary components, including one that facilitates easy and fast sensitivity studies. iFlow has a modular structure, which makes it easy to include, exclude or change individual model components, called modules. Depending on the required functionality for the application at hand, modules can be selected to construct anything from very simple quasi-linear models to rather complex models involving multiple non-linear interactions. This way, the model complexity can be adjusted to the application. Once the modules containing the required functionality are selected, the underlying model structure automatically ensures modules are called in the correct order. The model inserts iteration loops over groups of modules that are mutually dependent. iFlow also ensures a smooth coupling of modules using analytical and numerical solution methods. This way the model combines the speed and accuracy of analytical solutions with the versatility of numerical solution methods. In this paper we present the modular structure, solution method and two examples of the use of iFlow. In the examples we present two case studies, of the Yangtze and Scheldt rivers, demonstrating how iFlow facilitates the analysis of model results, the understanding of the underlying physics and the testing of parameter sensitivity. A comparison of the model results to measurements shows a good qualitative agreement. iFlow is written in Python and is available as open source code under the LGPL license.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2691-2713
Number of pages23
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2017

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