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Section: Research Program

State of the Art

Shallow Water Models

Shallow Water (SW) wave dynamics and dissipation represent an important research field. This is because shallow water flows are the most common flows in geophysics. In shallow water regions, dispersive effects (non-hydrostatic pressure effects related to strong curvature in the flow streamlines) can become significant and affect wave transformations. The shoaling of the wave (the “steepening” that happens before the breaking) cannot be described with the usual Saint-Venant equations. To model such various evolutions, one has to use more sophisticated models (Boussinesq, Green-Naghdi...). Nowadays, the classical Saint-Venant equations can be solved numerically in an accurate way, allowing the generation of bores and the shoreline motion to be handled, using recent finite-volume or discontinuous-Galerkin schemes. In contrast, very few advanced works regarding the derivation and modern numerical solution of dispersive equations [23], [27], [56] are available in one dimensions, let alone in the multidimensional case. We can refer to [55], [30] for some linear dispersive equations, treated with finite-element methods, or to [27] for the first use of advanced high-order compact finite-volume methods for the Serre equations. Recent work undertaken during the ANR MathOCEAN [23] lead to some new 1D fully nonlinear and weakly dispersive models (Green-Naghdi like models) that allow to accurately handle the nonlinear waves transformations. High order accuracy numerical methods (based on a second-order splitting strategy) have been developed and implemented, raising a new and promising 1D numerical model. However, there is still a lack of new development regarding the multidimensional case.

In shallow water regions, depending on the complex balance between non-linear effects, dispersive effects and energy dissipation due to wave breaking, wave fronts can evolve into a large range of bore types, from purely breaking to purely undular bore. Boussinesq or Green-Naghdi models can handle these phenomena [21] . However, these models neglect the wave overturning and the associated dissipation, and the dispersive terms are not justified in the vicinity of the singularity. Previous numerical studies concerning bore dynamics using depth-averaged models have been devoted to either purely broken bores using NSW models [24], or undular bores using Boussinesq-type models [34]. Let us also mention [32] for tsunami modeling and [31], [43] for the dam-break problem. A model able to reproduce the various bore shapes, as well as the transition from one type of bore to another, is required. A first step has been made with the one-dimensional code [23], [53]. The SWASH project led by Zijlema at Delft [56] addresses the same issues.

Open boundary conditions and coupling algorithms

For every model set in a bounded domain, there is a need to consider boundary conditions. When the boundaries correspond to a modeling choice rather than to a physical reality, the corresponding boundary conditions should not create spurious oscillations or other unphysical behaviour at the artificial boundary. Such conditions are called open boundary conditions (OBC). They have been widely studied by applied mathematicians since the pionneering work of [33] on transparent boundary conditions. Deep studies of these operators have been performed in the case of linear equations, [38], [22], [50]. Unfortunately, in the case of geophysical fluid dynamics, this theory leads to nonlocal conditions (even in linear cases) that are not usable in numerical models. Most of current models (including high quality operational ones) modestly use a no flux condition (namely an homogeneous Neumann boundary condition) when a free boundary condition is required. But in many cases, Neumann homogeneous conditions are a very poor approximation of the exact transparent conditions. Hence the need to build higher order approximations of these conditions that remain numerically tractable.

Numerous physical processes are involved in coastal modeling, each of them depending on others (surface winds for coastal oceanography, sea currents for sandbars dynamics, etc.). Connecting two (or more) model solutions at their interface is a difficult task, that is often addressed in a simplified way from the mathematical viewpoint: this can be viewed as the one and only iteration of an iterative process. This results with a low quality coupled system, which could be improved either with additional iterations, and/or thanks to the improvement of interface boundary conditions and the use of OBC (see above). Promising results have been obtained in the framework of ocean-atmosphere coupling (in a simplified modeling context) in [44], where the use of advanced coupling techniques (based on domain decomposition algorithm) are introduced.

A need for upscaled shallow water models.

The mathematical modeling of fluid-biology coupled systems in lagoon ecosystems requires one or several water models. It is of course not necessary (and not numerically feasible) to use accurate non-hydrostatic turbulent models to force the biological processes over very long periods of time. There is a compromise to be reached between accurate (but untractable) fluid models such as the Navier-Stokes equations and simple (but imprecise) models such as [35].

In urbanized coastal zones, upscaling is also a key issue. This stems not only from the multi-scale aspects dealt with in the previous subsection, but also from modeling efficiency considerations.

The typical size of the relevant hydraulic feature in an urban area is between 0.1 m and 1.0 m, while the size of an urban area usually ranges from 103m to 104m. Refined flow computations (e.g. in simulating the impact of a tsunami) over entire coastal conurbations using a 2D horizontal model thus require 106 to 109 elements. From an engineering perspective, this makes both the CPU and man-supervised mesh design efforts unaffordable in the present state of technology.

Upscaling provides an answer to this problem by allowing macroscopic equations to be derived from the small-scale governing equations. The powerful, multiple scale expansion-based homogeneization technique [20], [19], [49] has been applied successfully to flow and transport upscaling in porous media, but its use is subordinated to the stringent assumptions of (i) the existence of a Representative Elementary Volume (REV), (ii) the scale separation principle, and (iii) the process is not purely hyperbolic at the microscopic scale, otherwise precluding the study of transient solutions [20]. Unfortunately, the REV has been shown recently not to exist in urban areas [37]. Besides, the scale separation principle is violated in the case of sharp transients (such as tsunami waves) impacting urban areas because the typical wavelength is of the same order of magnitude as the microscopic detail (the street/block size). Moreover, 2D shallow water equations are essentially hyperbolic, thus violating the third assumption.

These hurdles are overcome by averaging approaches. Single porosity-based, macroscopic shallow water models have been proposed [29], [36], [39] and applied successfully to urban flood modeling scale experiments [36], [45], [52]. They allow the CPU time to be divided by 10 to 100 compared to classical 2D shallow water models. Recent extensions of these models have been proposed in the form of integral porosity [51] and multiple porosity [37] shallow water models.