With global warming, the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events were predicted to change more dramatically in the near future while the amount of total precipitation will change slightly. Large volume of turbid inflow will enter the source water reservoir after a heavy rainfall, and evolve in various types of density currents depending on the density difference between the inflow and background water. Density currents play an important role in the thermal structure and pollutant transport in the reservoir. Understanding the behaviors of density current is fundamental to study the changes of source water quality during the flooding season. Characteristics of density currents were first experimentally investigated in a pilot stratified reservoir with a length of 2.0m and a depth of 0.54m, in which the thermal stratification was achieved with a heating method. When the stratification stability indexes were of 0.0112～0.0197 m-1 and the buoyancy frequencies were of 0.3314～0.4393 s-1, the turbid inflow was observed to separate from the bed slope and to propagate horizontally into its equilibrium layer, namely interflow. The separation depth of density currents and the thickness of the interflow were both smaller in the strong stratification cases than those in the weak cases, which had an important impact on the pollutant transport in the reservoir. Propagation characteristics of density currents and its implications to pollutant transport were systemically explored by numerically simulating behaviors of density currents under different conditions of stratification stability index, inflow velocity and sediment content of inflow. After careful calibration of Euler-Euler model, the simulated separation depth of density currents and the thickness of the interflow agreed well with the experimental ones, which showed the propagation of inflow was closely related to the stratification level. Impacts of inflow velocity and sediment content of inflow on the propagation of density currents were different under the simulated conditions. When the volume fraction of sediment in the inflow was increased from 0.025% to 0.20%, the separation depth of density currents was decreased from 21.0cm to 18.5cm, the thickness of the interflow was slightly increased from 6.2cm to 7.8cm, but the heights of the internal hydraulic jump were almost the same. The inflow velocity mainly influenced the time of developing the interflow, the developing time decreased as the inflow velocity increased, which implied the water quality would deteriorate quickly after a heavy rainfall. Under larger inflow velocity conditions, mixing between the inflow and background water was stronger due to the higher energy carried by the inflow, and this caused the larger depth of interflow and the bigger height of internal hydraulic jump, which indicated the pollutants carried by turbid inflow would be transported more widely.
Sun, Xin; Xu, Yan; Huang, Tinglin; and Tang, Xiao, "Propagation Characteristics Of Density Currents And Implications To Pollutant Transport In A Stratified Reservoir" (2014). CUNY Academic Works.