Resuspension and advection processes affecting suspended particulate matter concentrations in the central English Channel

Velegrakis, A.F.; Gao, S.; Lafite, R.; Dupont, J.P.; Huault, M.F.; Nash, L.A.; Collins, M.B.. 1997 Resuspension and advection processes affecting suspended particulate matter concentrations in the central English Channel. Journal of Sea Research, 38 (1-2). 17-34.

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Suspended particulate matter (SPM) measurements obtained along a cross-section in the central English Channel (Wight-Cotentin transect) indicate that the area may be differentiated into: (1) an English coastal zone, associated with the highest concentrations; (2) a French coastal zone, with intermediate concentrations; and (3) the offshore waters of the Channel, characterised by a very low suspended-sediment load. The SPM particle-size distribution was modal close to the English coast (main mode 10–12 μm); the remainder of the area was characterised by flat SPM distributions. Examination of the diatom communities in the SPM suggests that material resuspended in the intertidal zone and the estuarine environments was advected towards the offshore waters of the English Channel. Considerable variations in SPM concentrations occurred during a tidal cycle: maximum concentrations were sometimes up to 3 times higher than the minimum concentrations. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of the SPM concentration time series indicates that, although the bottom waters were more turbid than the surficial waters, this was not likely to be the result of in situ sediment resuspension. Instead, the observed variations appear to be controlled mainly by advective mechanisms. The limited resuspension was probably caused by: (1) the limited availability of fine-grained material within the bottom sediments; and (2) ‘bed-armouring’ processes which protect the finer-grained fractions of the seabed material from erosion and entrainment within the overlying flow during the less energetic stages of the tide.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1385-1101
Additional Keywords: suspended particulate matter; English Channel; resuspension; advective transport; EOF analysis
Date made live: 04 Feb 2010 +0 (UTC)

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