3-D Hydrodynamic modeling of Falmouth Bay, Jamaica

The Port Authority of Jamaica  planned to construct a Cruise Ship facility at Falmouth Harbour, in the parish of Trelawny on the north coast of Jamaica. There is a reef approximately 570m offshore which produces some form of sheltering in the form of wave height reduction. In order to accommodate the expected incoming vessels, it was planned to undertake land filling adjacent to the shoreline and to significantly increase the entrance channel width and depth.


As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, it was necessary to determine how these changes to the seabed would affect nearshore circulation patterns. Of particular interest was the potential impact on the bioluminescent dinoflagellates that inhabit the estuary. It had been found from research that the bioluminescence is affected by river flow from the Martha Brae River, which empties into the bay. It was therefore important to quantify the ways that nearshore circulation patterns would be affected following the construction of the cruise ship facility.

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Smith Warner International Ltd. (SWIL) was commissioned to undertake a study of the impact on currents, temperature and salinity for the proposed layout.

In order to evaluate the impacts on the nearshore circulation patterns, the Falmouth estuary was modeled using a 3-dimensional hydrodynamic model. The focus of this investigation was to determine changes to the current and vertical stratification patterns resulting from the new entrance channel.

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