Exploration of the effects of storm surge on the extent of saltwater intrusion into the surficial aquifer in coastal east-central Florida (USA).

Affiliation

Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida, 12800 Pegasus Drive, ENGR II 324, Orlando, FL, United States of America. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Climate change such as altered frequency and intensity of storm surge from tropical cyclones can cause saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers. In this study, a reference SEAWAT model and a diagnostic SEAWAT model are developed to simulate the temporal variation of surficial aquifer total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations after the occurrence of a storm surge for exploration of the effects of storm surge on the extent of saltwater intrusion into the surficial aquifer in coastal east-central Florida (USA). It is indicated from the simulation results that: (1) rapid infiltration and diffusion of overtopping saltwater resulting from storm surge could cause a significant and rapid increase of TDS concentrations in the surficial aquifer right after the occurrence of storm surge; (2) rapid infiltration of freshwater from rainfall could reduce surficial aquifer TDS concentrations beginning from the second year after the occurrence of storm surge in that the infiltrated rainwater could generate an effective hydraulic barrier to impede further inland migration of saltwater and provide a downgradient freshwater discharge for saltwater dilution and flushing counteracting the effects of storm surge on the extent of saltwater intrusion; and (3) infiltrated rainwater might take approximately eight years to dilute and flush the overwhelming majority of infiltrated saltwater back out to the surrounding waterbodies, i.e., the coastal lagoons and the Atlantic Ocean.

Keywords

Coastal east-Central Florida,Numerical modeling,SEAWAT,Saltwater intrusion,Surficial aquifer,