Numerical Modelling of Circulation and Exchange through Singapore Straits

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Guangliang Liu, Ming Xu and Vivien P Chua, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
The circulation in the Singapore coastal region is complicated and influenced by the combination of tidal forcing of the surrounding seas, complex bathymetry, irregular coastlines, and seasonal monsoon and local winds. An unstructured-grid SUNTANS (Stanford Unstructured Nonhydrostatic Terrain-following Adaptive Navier-Stokes Simulator) model is employed to perform three-dimensional simulations of flow in Singapore coastal waters. The unstructured-grid has an average resolution of 50 – 100 m around Singapore and in areas close to the shoreline, while a coarse grid resolution is employed in the open waters. The model is tidally forced at the three open boundaries, located to the west, south and east of Singapore, using the 8 main tidal constituents as derived from the OSU Tidal Prediction Software (OTPS). A detailed calibration is performed, and the model-predicted water levels and currents compare well with observed data throughout the model domain. We examine the individual and combined effects of tidal and wind forcing by performing simulations with (1) tides only, (2) winds only and (3) both tides and wind. The exchange through Singapore Strait is investigated by computing volume fluxes and transport pathways at four transects, namely the Malacca Strait, Java Sea, South China Sea and Singapore transects. The transport pathways are computed by releasing particles on each side of the transects, and identifying the spatial distribution of the particles over one tidal cycle. Our results show that tidal forcing is predominant in Singapore Strait, and wind forcing is an important mechanism during the monsoon season. The residual effects, attributed to nonlinear interactions between tidal and wind forcing, is dominant during the inter-monsoon season.