The effect of a local mesh refinement on hydraulic modelling of river meanders

Eray Bilgili, Anouk Bomers*, G. Jan‐willem Van lente, Fredrik Huthoff, Suzanne J. M. H. Hulscher

*Corresponding author for this work

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Large-scale river models are generally discretized by relatively large mesh cells resulting in bathymetry discretization errors and numerical effects. These hydraulic models are generally calibrated by altering the bed roughness to compensate for these errors and effects. Consequently, the calibrated roughness values are mesh-dependent while generally local mesh refinements are executed after model calibration to study the effects of river interventions. This study shows both the errors caused by bathymetry discretization and numerical effects for locally refined meshes. First, schematised river meanders with a flat bed in the transverse flow direction are analysed to isolate the induced numerical effects by the mesh. Afterwards, a case study is considered to verify if similar mesh influences are found in natural river meanders. Curvilinear, triangular and hybrid (combination of curvilinear and triangular cells) meshes are used with different resolutions. The analysis shows that in the schematised river meanders lower depth-averaged flow velocities and larger water depths are simulated with coarser meshes. In the case study, substantial differences in hydrodynamics between the meshes are obtained suggesting that the bathymetry discretization is more influential than the numerical effects. Finally, it was found that triangular meshes, and rivers with narrow meander bends, are most sensitive to mesh resolution. Especially in these cases, it is desirable to refine the mesh at the desired locations before model calibration.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalRiver research and applications
Early online date30 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 30 Jan 2023


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