Document Type



1.5 EARTH AND RELATED ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, Environmental sciences, Hydrology, Water resources

Publication Details

Gao, G.; O’Sullivan, J.J.; Corkery, A.; Bedri, Z.; O’Hare, G.M.P.; Meijer,W.G. The Use of Transport Time Scales as Indicators of Pollution Persistence in a Macro-Tidal Setting. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2023, 11, 1073. jmse11051073


An understanding of water exchange processes is essential for assessing water quality management issues in coastal bays. This paper evaluates the impact of water exchange processes on pollution persistence in a macro-tidal semi-closed coastal bay through two transport time scales (TTS), namely residence time and exposure time. The numerical model was calibrated against field-measured data for various tidal conditions. Simulated current speeds and directions were shown to agree well with the field data. By considering different release scenarios of a conservative tracer by the refinement of an integrated hydrodynamic and solute transport model (the EFDC), the two TTS were used for interpreting the water exchange processes in a semi-closed system, and for describing the effects of advective and dispersive processes on the transport and fate of pollutants. The results indicate that the magnitudes of river inflows to the bay, tidal ranges, and tracer release times significantly influence the residence and exposure times. Return coefficients were shown to be variable, confirming the different effects of returning water for the different conditions that were studied. For the tested river flow magnitudes and tide conditions, the exposure times were generally higher than the residence times, but particularly so for neap tide conditions. The results, therefore, highlight the risks associated with pollutants leaving a specified domain on an outgoing tide but re-entering on subsequent incoming tides. The spatial distributions of the exposure and residence times across the model domain confirmed that for the case of Dublin Bay, river inputs have a potentially greater impact on water quality on the northern side of the bay.

DOI jmse11051073


This research (Acclimatize) was partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.