Fully coupled approach to modeling shallow water flow, sediment transport, and bed evolution in rivers

Shuangcai Li, Christopher J. Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Our ability to predict complex environmental fluid flow and transport hinges on accurate and efficient simulations of multiple physical phenomenon operating simultaneously over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales, including overbank floods, coastal storm surge events, drying and wetting bed conditions, and simultaneous bed form evolution. This research implements a fully coupled strategy for solving shallow water hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and morphological bed evolution in rivers and floodplains (PIHM-Hydro) and applies the model to field and laboratory experiments that cover a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. The model uses a standard upwind finite volume method and Roe's approximate Riemann solver for unstructured grids. A multidimensional linear reconstruction and slope limiter are implemented, achieving second-order spatial accuracy. Model efficiency and stability are treated using an explicit-implicit method for temporal discretization with operator splitting. Laboratory-and field-scale experiments were compiled where coupled processes across a range of scales were observed and where higher-order spatial and temporal accuracy might be needed for accurate and efficient solutions. These experiments demonstrate the ability of the fully coupled strategy in capturing dynamics of field-scale flood waves and small-scale drying-wetting processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW03508
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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