Applications of advanced modelling approach in contaminated coastal areas

Helen Keenan, Zagar Dusan, Natasa Sirnik, Milena Horvat

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Existing modelling techniques in contaminated coastal areas are being significantly improved in the framework of the EU FP7 project “Hydronet “. These techniques are used to (1) access and use the available data on hydrodynamics and oceanographic, meteorological and environmental parameters obtained with other models; (2) apply data on environmental parameters and pollutants measured in high spatial and temporal resolution by sensor-equipped autonomous floating buoys and robots. The model PCFLOW3D has been improved in order to (1) forecast water circulation in the areas under study in adequate spatial and temporal resolution, (2) simulate transport and fate of pollutants on the basis of measured and modelled input parameters and (3) perform nearly real-time short-term simulations. PCFLOW3D is used for simulations of pollutant transport and transformations. It was improved by introducing several additional variables. With these, it is now possible to simulate more environmental parameters and to account for the impact of several new variables on mercury transformations. The Fasham’s nitrogen-based model for plankton dynamics (Fasham et al., 1990) will help determine nutrients and oxygen content in the water column. PCFLOW3D is currently set in different spatial resolutions for the two Hg-contaminated areas under study. In the Gulf of Trieste, the resolution in the horizontal plane is approx. 150x150 m and the layer thickness is 1 m, while in the Livorno coastal sea the horizontal resolution is 500x500 m with layers of various thickness (1 – 40 m). In order to transform results of other models into input data for PCFLOW3D, several new interfaces had to be developed. Measured data from buoys and robots is transferred via web-interfaces from the AmI database to PCFLOW3D and the modelling results are fed back to the database. GIS models are applied to simulate conditions in the background areas and to determine river inputs. Using all the described improvements and the significantly larger quantity and better quality of input data, we expect to increase the accuracy of mercury transport and transformations simulated with the PCFLOW3D model.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 28 Jul 2011
Event10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant - Halifax, Canada
Duration: 24 Jul 201129 Jul 2011


Conference10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant


  • contaminated coastal areas
  • modelling
  • civil engineering


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