Publications

Regional scale impact of tidal forcing on groundwater flow in unconfined coastal aquifers

Pauw, P.S.; Oude Essink, G.H.P.; Leijnse, A.; Vandenbohede, A.; Groen, J.; Zee, S.E.A.T.M. van der

Summary

This paper considers the impact of tidal forcing on regional groundwater flow in an unconfined coastal aquifer. Numerical models are used to quantify this impact for a wide range of hydrogeological conditions. Both a shallow and a deep aquifer are investigated with regard to three dimensionless parameter groups that determine the groundwater flow to a large extent. Analytical expressions are presented that allow for a quick estimate of the regional scale effect of tidal forcing under the same conditions as used in the numerical models. Quantitatively, the results in this paper are complementary to previous studies by taking into account variable density groundwater flow, dispersive salt transport and a seepage face in the intertidal area. Qualitatively, the results are in line with previous investigations. The time-averaged hydraulic head at the high tide mark increases upon a decrease of each of the three considered dimensionless parameter groups: R (including the ratio of the hydraulic conductivity and the precipitation excess), a (the slope of the intertidal area) and AL (the ratio of the width of the fresh water lens and the tidal amplitude). The relative change of the location and the hydraulic head of the groundwater divide, which together characterize regional groundwater flow, increase as a and AL decrease, but decrease as R decreases. The difference between the analytical solutions and numerical results is small. Therefore, the presented analytical solutions can be used to estimate the bias that is introduced in a numerical model if tidal forcing is neglected. The results should be used with caution in case of significant wave forcing, as this was not considered.