Bardsey – an island in a strong tidal stream: underestimating coastal tides due to unresolved topography

Green, J. A. Mattias; Pugh, David. 2020 Bardsey – an island in a strong tidal stream: underestimating coastal tides due to unresolved topography. Ocean Science, 16 (6). 1337-1345.

Before downloading, please read NORA policies.
os-16-1337-2020.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (2MB) | Preview


Bardsey Island is located at the western end of the Llŷn Peninsula in northwestern Wales. Separated from the mainland by a channel that is some 3 km wide, it is surrounded by reversing tidal streams of up to 4 m s−1 during spring tides. These local hydrodynamic details and their consequences are unresolved by satellite altimetry and are not represented in regional tidal models. Here we look at the effects of the island on the strong tidal stream in terms of the budgets for tidal energy dissipation and the formation and shedding of eddies. We show, using local observations and a satellite-altimetry-constrained product (TPXO9), that the island has a large impact on the tidal stream and that even in this latest altimetry-constrained product the derived tidal stream is under-represented due to the island not being resolved. The effect of the island leads to an underestimate of the current speed in the TPXO9 data in the channel of up to a factor of 2.5, depending on the timing in the spring–neap cycle, and the average tidal energy resource is underestimated by a factor up to 14. The observed tidal amplitudes are higher at the mainland than at the island, and there is a detectable phase lag in the tide across the island; this effect is not seen in the TPXO9 data. The underestimate of the tide in the TPXO9 data has consequences for tidal dissipation and wake effect computation and shows that local observations are key to correctly estimating tidal energetics around small-scale coastal topography.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1812-0792
Date made live: 07 Jan 2021 14:27 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...