Computer models are crucial tools for the formulation of design criteria and testing of design alternatives for coastal projects. These models generally provide the most accurate flow field approximations, which are important because most natural flow systems are extremely complex.
Numerical hydrodynamic models can be 1-, 2-, or 3-dimensional. They can be used to represent phenomena such as tidal circulation or storm surges.
The New York Bight Project (Scheffner et. al. 1993) is an excellent example of tidal circulation modeling. The goal of the study was to develop a hydrodynamic simulation tool that could be used to address questions concerning how certain modifications to the New York Bight may affect the local or global hydrodynamics of the system and how the computed flow fields affected the transport of certain water quality parameters.
A 3-D model was chosen. It was preliminarily tested to demonstrate state-steady response to long-term circulation patterns, wind-induced circulation, and Hudson River inflow-induced circulation.