Controls on monthly estuarine residuals: Eulerian circulation and elevation

Brown, Jennifer ORCID:; Bolanos-Sanchez, Rodolfo; Souza, Alejandro. 2014 Controls on monthly estuarine residuals: Eulerian circulation and elevation. Ocean Dynamics, 64 (4). 587-609.

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The Dee Estuary, at the NW English – Welsh border, is a major asset, supporting: one of the largest wildlife habitats in Europe; industrial importance along the Welsh coastline; and residential and recreational usage along the English coast. Understanding of the residual elevation is important to determine the total water levels that inundate intertidal banks, especially during storms. While, improved knowledge of the 3D residual circulation is important in determining particle transport pathways to manage water quality and morphological change. Using mooring data obtained in February – March 2008, a 3D modelling system has been previously validated against in situ salinity, velocity, elevation and wave observations, to investigate the barotropic-baroclinic-wave interaction within this estuary under full realistic forcing. The system consists of a coupled circulation-wave-turbulence model (POLCOMS-WAM-GOTM). Using this modelling system the contribution of different processes and their interactions to the monthly residuals in both elevation and circulation is now assessed. By studying a tidally-dominated estuary under wave influence, it is found that baroclinicity induced by a weak river flow has greater importance in generating a residual circulation than the waves, even at the estuary mouth. Although the monthly residual circulation is dominated by tidal and baroclinic processes; the residual estuarine surface elevation is primarily influenced by the seasonal external forcing to the region, with secondary influence from the local wind conditions. During storm conditions 3D radiation stress becomes important for both elevation and circulation at the event scale, but is found here to have little impact over monthly time scales.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: NOC Programmes > Marine Physics and Ocean Climate
ISSN: 1616-7341
Date made live: 28 Jan 2014 09:54 +0 (UTC)

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