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Bed Scouring During the Release of an Ice Jam

Laboratoire PMC, Ecole Polytechnique, Route de Saclay, Palaiseau 91120, France
Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2014, 2(2), 370-385;
Received: 4 December 2013 / Revised: 29 January 2014 / Accepted: 19 February 2014 / Published: 3 April 2014
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A model is developed for simulating changes in river bed morphology as a result of bed scouring during the release of an ice jam. The model couples a non-hydrostatic hydrodynamic model with the processes of erosion and deposition through a grid expansion technique. The actual movement of bed load is implemented by reconstructing the river bed in piecewise linear elements in order to bypass the limitations of the step-like approximation that the hydrodynamic model uses to capture the bed bathymetry. Initially, an ice jam is modeled as a rigid body of water near the free surface that constricts the flow. The ice jam does not exchange mass or momentum with the stream, but the ice body can have a realistic shape and offer resistance to the flow of water through the constriction. An ice jam release is modeled by suddenly enabling the ice to flow and exchange mass and momentum with the water. The resulting release resembles a dam break wave accelerating and causing flow velocities to rise rapidly. The model is used to simulate the 1984 ice jam in the St. Clair River, which is part of the Huron-Erie Corridor. The jam had a duration of 24 days, and its release was accompanied by high flow velocities. It is speculated that high flow velocities during the release of the jam caused scouring of the river bed. This led to an increase in the river’s conveyance that is partly responsible for the persistence of low water levels in the upper Great Lakes. The simulations confirm that an event similar to the 1984 ice jam will indeed cause scouring of the St. Clair River bed. View Full-Text
Keywords: ice jam release; bed scouring; Great Lakes ice jam release; bed scouring; Great Lakes

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Manolidis, M.; Katopodes, N. Bed Scouring During the Release of an Ice Jam. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2014, 2, 370-385.

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