Water Currents and Water Budget in a Coastal Megastructure, Palm Jumeirah Lagoon, Dubai, UAE

Geo'rgenes H. Cavalcante; Bjo'rn Kjerfve; David A. Feary; Andrew G. Bauman; and Paolo Usseglio
March 2011
Journal of Coastal Research;Mar2011, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p384
Academic Journal
Palm Jumeirah is the most completely developed of several man-made coastal island megaconstructions in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The palm-shaped island, surrounded by an elliptical breakwater, was developed 7 y ago, has an overall footprint of 23 km², of which the constructed island surface area is 7.9 km², and is connected to shore via a 5-km-long spine from the mainland to the crescent tip. Time-series observations of hydrographic variables and currents within the interior of the development (Palm Jumeirah Lagoon) during 30 d in April-May 2008 were utilized to examine current flow, tide variability, water budget, vertical mixing, and turnover time within this megastructure. Currents within Palm Jumeirah Lagoon varied between stations; however, similar water temperatures and salinities were apparent throughout all the stations. Palm Jumeirah Lagoon tides were mixed and mainly semidiurnal, with spring and neap tidal ranges measuring 116 and 56 cm, respectively, and no difference in amplitude or phase throughout Palm Jumeirah Lagoon. There were substantial differences in water discharge between the east and west entrances, with high discharge on average exiting the eastern entrance and low discharge exiting the western entrance. These results indicate that the eastern and western halves of Palm Jumeirah Lagoon are flushed unequally and show differences in residence times (1.2 and 42 d, respectively), due to differences in tidal currents, wind influence, and variability of the bathymetric contour. Previous numerical modeling studies of water residence time within Palm Jumeirah Lagoon did not capture this difference, which could be associated with the exclusion of bathymetric variability in the previous modeling. Due to the strong shear and weak saline stratification, the water column throughout Palm Jumeirah Lagoon remained instable, with vertical mixing present during the spring-neap tidal cycle and well-mixed conditions predominating throughout the lagoon system.


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