Coastal Engineering and Fluid Mechanics

Dan McDonald in the field.

The Coastal Engineering and Fluid Mechanics Lab pursues research in the areas of stratified hydrodynamics, turbulence and frontal dynamics--with specific emphasis on estuarine flows, river plumes, and industrial discharges--and coastal and environmental engineering.

Currently, the Lab is performing an observational and numerical study of mixing and spreading in a near field river plume in order to quantify and predict important changes in water mass structure across the first several kilometers of a river plume. Observations focus on the mouth of the Merrimack River (Newburyport, MA) and include velocity, density and turbulent microstructure surveys.  The project requires detailed measurements of turbulence in the near field of the plume, as well as delineation of streamlines and spreading.  Numerical modeling of the outflow will be carried out in collaboration with colleagues at Texas A&M University.


Other projects have included studies of the physics and ecology of Mt. Hope Bay (Massachusetts/Rhode Island), including detailed analyses of mixing and turbulence in a thermal discharge plume, and efforts to quantify residence time within the bay.

At left: Velocity (top) and density (bottom) observed in Merrimack River outflow during the May 2006 Merrimack flood.

The School for Marine Science and Technology
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth
706 South Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA 02744-1221