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Time scales for pollution assessment

Time scales for pollution assessment can be considered using three commonly used methods: flushing time, residence time and age. In this article the methodologies and tools to quantify each of these methods is explained as well as the applicability of each method.

Transport time scales are useful tools to quantify the importance of hydrodynamic processes in the transport and fate of pollutants in coastal and estuarine water systems. Indeed, the water quality of a system depends crucially on the retention of pollutants within the system and its ability to flush them out. Transport time scales are often compared with the pollutant source time scales or biogeochemical processes to evaluate the relative importance of physical and water quality processes. [1] [2] They are also used to understand population dynamics [1] and to serve as indicators to classify and compare estuarine systems.[3]
  1. 1.0 1.1 Monsen N.E., Cloern J.E. and Lucas L.V (2002). A comment on the use of flushing time, residence time, and age as transport time scales. Limnology and Oceanography, 47(5) 1545-1553.
  2. Salomon J.C. and Pomepuy M. (1990). Mathematical modeling of bacterial contaminationof the Morlaix estuary (France). Water Research 24(8) 983-994.
  3. Jay D. (1994). Residence times, box models and shear fluxes in tidal channel flows, Changes in Fluxes in Estuaries, Dyer and Orth (eds.), 3-12, Olsen and Olsen, Fredensborg, Denmark.