The validation of numerical models is an important component of modeling to ensure reliability of model outputs under prescribed conditions. In river deltas, robust validation of models is paramount given that models are used to forecast land change and to track water, solid, and solute transport through the deltaic network. We propose using transfer entropy (TE) to validate model results. TE quantifies the information transferred between variables in terms of strength, timescale, and direction. Using water level data collected in the distributary channels and inter-channel islands of Wax Lake Delta, Louisiana, USA, along with modeled water level data generated for the same locations using Delft3D, we assess how well couplings between external drivers (river discharge, tides, wind) and modeled water levels reproduce the observed data couplings. We perform this operation through time using ten-day windows. Modeled and observed couplings compare well; their differences reflect the spatial parameterization of wind and roughness in the model, which prevents the model from capturing high frequency fluctuations of water level. The model captures couplings better in channels than on islands, suggesting that mechanisms of channel-island connectivity are not fully represented in the model. Overall, TE serves as an additional validation tool to quantify the couplings of the system of interest at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
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