Advection-diffusion processes and residence times in semienclosed marine basins

G. Buffoni, A. Cappelletti, E. Cupini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the problem of estimating the residence times in a marine basin of a passive constituent released in the sea. The dispersion process is described by an advection-difrusion model and the hydrodynamics is assumed to be known. We have performed the analysis of two different scenarios: (i) basins with unidirectional flows, in three space dimensions and under the rigid lid approximation, and (ii) basins with flows forced by the tide, under the shallow water approximation. Let the random variable τ be defined as the time spent in the basin by a particle released at a given point. The probability distribution of τ is obtained from the solution of the advection-difrusion problem and the residence time of a particle is defined as the mean value of τ. Two different numerical approximations have been used to solve the continuous problem: the finite volume and Monte Carlo methods. For both continuous and discrete formulations it is proved that if all the particles eventually leave the basin, then the residence time has a finite value. We present here the results obtained for two study cases: a two-dimensional basin with a steady flow and a one-dimensional channel with flow induced by the tide. The results obtained by the finite volume and Monte Carlo methods are in very good agreement for both scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207 - 1229
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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