Residual exchange flows in subtropical estuaries

Valle-Levinson, A.; Gutierrez de Velasco, G.; Trasvina, A.; Souza, A. J.; Durazo, R.; Mehta, A. J.. 2009 Residual exchange flows in subtropical estuaries. Estuaries and Coasts, 32 (1). 54-67. 10.1007/s12237-008-9112-1

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Observations of residual exchange flows at the entrance to four subtropical estuaries, two of them semiarid, indicate that these flows are mainly tidally driven, as they compare favorably with theoretical patterns of tidal residual flows. In every estuary examined, the tidal behavior was that of a standing or near-standing wave, i.e., tidal elevation and tidal currents were nearly in quadrature. The pattern of exchange flow that persisted at every estuary exhibited inflow in the channel and outflow over the shoals. Curiously, but also fortuitously, this pattern coincides with the exchange pattern driven by density gradients in other estuaries. The tidal stresses and the residual elevation slopes should be the dominant mechanisms that drive such tidal residual pattern because the Stokes transport mechanism is negligible for standing or near-standing waves. Time series measurements from the semiarid estuaries showed fortnightly modulation of the residual flow by tidal forcing in such a way that the strongest net exchange flows developed with the largest tidal distortions, i.e., during spring tides. This modulation is opposite to the modulation that typically results in temperate estuaries, where the strongest net exchange flows tend to develop during neap tides. The fortnightly modulation on tidal residual currents could be inferred from previous theoretical results because residual currents arise from tidal distortions but is made explicit in this study. The findings advanced herein should allow the drawing of generalities about exchange flow patterns in subtropical estuaries where residual flows are mainly driven by tides

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s12237-008-9112-1
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Shelf and coastal processes
ISSN: 1559-2723
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 30 Mar 2009 14:16

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