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SFBD - 3D model


A three-dimensional hydrodynamic model of the San Francisco Bay and Delta using the Delft3D Flexible Mesh modeling suite

1) To simulate salinity and temperature in the Bay and Delta by Martyr-Koller et al., (2017). 

2) To simulate 3D dynamics and assess the impact of water temperature in the Bay and Delta including atmospheric forcing by wind, air pressure, humidity, cloudiness, and air temperature described by Vroom et al., (2017)


Model Description

The model by Martyr-Koller et al., (2017) was developed to investigate tidal, seasonal and annual dynamics of water levels, river flows and salinity under historical environmental and infrastructural conditions. The model is driven by historical winds, tides, ocean salinity, and river flows, and includes federal, state, and local freshwater withdrawals, and regional gate and barrier operations. The model was calibrated over a 9-month period, and subsequently validated for water levels, flows, and 3D salinity dynamics over a 2 year period including a dry (WY2012) and wet (WY2011) year.
The hydrodynamics produced through this effort may be used to drive affiliated sediment, phytoplankton, and contaminant hindcast efforts and habitat suitability assessments for fish and bivalves..

The model by Vroom et al. (2017) was developed to determine the factors governing estuarine water temperature and its sensitivity to changes in its forcing. The model was calibrated for WY2011 and validated for WY2012 and incorporated 3D hydrodynamics, salinity intrusion, water temperature dynamics, and atmospheric coupling. Results show significant skill in reproducing temperature observations on daily, seasonal, and yearly time scales. In North San Francisco Bay, thermal stratification is present, enhanced by salinity stratification. The temperature of the upstream, fresh water Delta area is captured well in 2D mode, although locally—on a small scale—vertical processes (e.g., stratification) may be important. The impact of upstream river temperature and discharge and atmospheric forcing on water temperatures differs throughout the Delta, possibly depending on dispersion and residence times.“


The software, the model, and its input conditions are publicly available. Third parties can run, amend, copy, and distribute this SFBD-SWL and other SFBD Community Models under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License to meet the need for timely and best science. Available for download is the model input

Model setup for WY2011 and WY2012

Model grid, boundary conditions, and meteorological forcing


When using this schematization, please include one of following the references. Moreover, please review the Terms of Use.

  • Martyr-Koller, R. C., Kernkamp, H. W. J., van Dam, A., van der Wegen, M., Lucas, L. V., Knowles, N., Jaffe, B., & Fregoso, T. A. (2017). Application of an unstructured 3D finite volume numerical model to flows and salinity dynamics in the San Francisco Bay-Delta. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 192, 86–107.

  • Vroom, J., van der Wegen, M., Martyr-Koller, R. C., & Lucas, L. V. (2017). What Determines Water Temperature Dynamics in the San Francisco Bay-Delta System? Water Resources Research, 53(11), 9901–9921.


Terms of Use

The data and models provided on this website are preliminary and are subject to revision. They are being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The data are provided on the condition that neither Deltares USA, the U.S. Geological Survey nor the U.S. Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the data. This SFBD-3D model is developed by IHE Delft and is sponsored by U.S. Geological Survey Pacific Coastal & Marine under contract G11PX-2112. This model schematization is developed with professional care based on the conditions of the mentioned contract. The accuracy is subject to the contractual conditions and the usual assumptions and approximations made in mathematical modeling. You are entitled to run, amend, copy and distribute the San Francisco Bay-Delta Model under the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. © 2017, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and Deltares Netherlands.

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