• Study of the circulation processes in the northern Adriatic sea - coastal area and Venice lagoon inlets
  • Bellafiore, Debora <1981>


  • GEO/10 Geofisica della terra solida


  • This work is a detailed study of hydrodynamic processes in a defined area, the littoral in front of the Venice Lagoon and its inlets, which are complex morphological areas of interconnection. A finite element hydrodynamic model of the Venice Lagoon and the Adriatic Sea has been developed in order to study the coastal current patterns and the exchanges at the inlets of the Venice Lagoon. This is the first work in this area that tries to model the interaction dynamics, running together a model for the lagoon and the Adriatic Sea. First the barotropic processes near the inlets of the Venice Lagoon have been studied. Data from more than ten tide gauges displaced in the Adriatic Sea have been used in the calibration of the simulated water levels. To validate the model results, empirical flux data measured by ADCP probes installed inside the inlets of Lido and Malamocco have been used and the exchanges through the three inlets of the Venice Lagoon have been analyzed. The comparison between modelled and measured fluxes at the inlets outlined the efficiency of the model to reproduce both tide and wind induced water exchanges between the sea and the lagoon. As a second step, also small scale processes around the inlets that connect the Venice lagoon with the Northern Adriatic Sea have been investigated by means of 3D simulations. Maps of vorticity have been produced, considering the influence of tidal flows and wind stress in the area. A sensitivity analysis has been carried out to define the importance of the advection and of the baroclinic pressure gradients in the development of vortical processes seen along the littoral close to the inlets. Finally a comparison with real data measurements, surface velocity data from HF Radar near the Venice inlets, has been performed, which allows for a better understanding of the processes and their seasonal dynamics. The results outline the predominance of wind and tidal forcing in the coastal area. Wind forcing acts mainly on the mean coastal current inducing its detachment offshore during Sirocco events and an increase of littoral currents during Bora events. The Bora action is more homogeneous on the whole coastal area whereas the Sirocco strengthens its impact in the South, near Chioggia inlet. Tidal forcing at the inlets is mainly barotropic. The sensitivity analysis shows how advection is the main physical process responsible for the persistent vortical structures present along the littoral between the Venice Lagoon inlets. The comparison with measurements from HF Radar not only permitted a validation the model results, but also a description of different patterns in specific periods of the year. The success of the 2D and the 3D simulations on the reproduction both of the SSE, inside and outside the Venice Lagoon, of the tidal flow, through the lagoon inlets, and of the small scale phenomena, occurring along the littoral, indicates that the finite element approach is the most suitable tool for the investigation of coastal processes. For the first time, as shown by the flux modeling, the physical processes that drive the interaction between the two basins were reproduced.


  • 2009-06-09


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Bellafiore, Debora (2009) Study of the circulation processes in the northern Adriatic sea - coastal area and Venice lagoon inlets, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Geofisica , 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2104.