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Coastal and Estuarine Studies

Series Editors'
Malcolm J. Bowman Christopher N.K.
and Estuarine Studies

Charitha Pattiaratchi(Ed.)

Mixing in Estuaries
and Coastal Seas

Series Editors
Malcolm J. Bowman
Marine Sciences Research Center, State Universityof New York
StonyBrook,N.Y. 11794, USA

ChristopherN.K. Mooers
Divisionof AppliedMarine Physics
RSMAS/Universityof Miami
4600 RickenbackerCswy.
Miami, FL 33149-1098, USA

Charitha B. Pattiaratchi
Universityof Western Australia
Nedlands, W.A. 60009 Australia

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Mixing in estuariesand coastalseas / Charitha Pattiaratchi,editor.

p. cm.- (Coastal and estuarine studies; 50)
"Papers... presentedat the 6th InternationalBiennial Conference
on Physicsof Estuariesand CoastalSeas, held in Margaret River,
Western Australia, in December 1992"---•ef.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-87590-264-2
1. Estuarine oceanography--Congresses. 2. Coasts--Congresses.
3. Ocean mixing--Congresses. I. Pattiaratchi, Charitha, 1957- .
II. International Conferenceon Physicsof Estuariesand Coastal Seas
(6th: 1992 : MargaretRiver, Augusta-MargaretRiver Shire. W.A.) III. Series.
GC96.5.M59 1996
551.46'09•dc20 96-175

ISSN 0733-9569

ISBN 0-87590-264-2

Copyright1996 by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion,2000 FloridaAvenue,NW, Washington,

DC 20009, U.S.A.

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Printed in the United States of


PREFACE ............................................................................................. xi

I Introduction
C. Pattiaratchi .......................................................................... 1


2 The Responseof Stratified Shelf Waters to the Leeuwin Current and
Wind Forcing: Winter Observationsoff Perth, Western Australia
D. Mills, N. D'Adamo, A. Wyllie and A. Pearce .............................

Measurementsof the Wave, Current and SeaLevel Dynamics

of an Exposed Coastal Site
K. Black, M. Rosenberg, G. Symonds,R. Simons, C. Pattiaratchi,
and P. Nielsen ......................................................................... 29

The LagrangianBarycentricMethod to Compute2D and 3D

Long Term Dispersionin Tidal Environments
J. C. Salomon, P. Garreau and M. Breton ................................... 59

Modelling Oil Slick Trajectoriesin SpencerGulf, South Australia

P. J. Bills, D. W. F. Standingfordand B. J. Noye ......................... 77

Tide-InducedResidualCurrentsGeneratedby the StokesLayer in the

Rotating Tidal Basin
H. Yasuda .............................................................................. 95

Wave and DispersionStudiesin ShallowWater UsingSide-ScanSonar

S. A. Thorpe, A. Graham and A. Hall ........................................ 110

Detailed Cross-Frontal Structure of a Tidal Front in the

Kii Channel, Japan
T. Yanagi, T. Yamamoto, T. Ishimaru and T. Saino ..................... 135


9 A Field Investigationof Water ExchangeBetweena SmallCoastal
Embayment and an Adjacent Shelf
P. E. Holloway ......................................................................
10 A Note on the Influence of a Deep Ship Channel on Estuarine-Shelf
Exchange in a Broad, Shallow Estuary
W. W. Schroeder, J. R. Pennock and W. J. Wiseman Jr .................. 159

11 Tidal and Low FrequencyFlushingof a Coastal Lagoon Using a Flexible

Grid Model
N. P. Smith ............................................................................... 171

12 Circulation and Transport in SarasotaBay, Florida: The Effect of

Tidal Inlets on Estuarine Circulation and Flushing Quality
Y. P. Sheng, S. Peene and E. Yassuda.......................................... 184


13 Internal Tidal Asymmetry in Channel Flows: Origins and Consequences
D. A. Jay and J. D. Musiak ......................................................... 211

14 Relative Contributions of Interfacial and Bed Generated Mixing to the

Estuarine Energy Balance
R. E. Lewis ............................................................................... 250

15 Short Salt Wedgesand the Limit of No Salt Wedge

J. B. Hinwood ........................................................................... 267

16 A Spring-Neap FlushingBox Model

Z. Z. Ibrahim ......................................................................... 278

17 Studies on Transport Times and Water Quality in the Weser Estuary

I. Grabemann, H. Kiihle, B. Kunze, and A. Miiller ...................... 291


18 Modelling SuspendedSediment Dynamics in Tidally Stirred and
Periodically Stratified Waters: Progressand Pitfalls
S. E. Jones, C. F. Jago and J. H. Simpson................................. 302

19 Bottom Friction Reduction in Turbid Estuaries

B. King and E. Wolanski ......................................................... 325

20 Tidal Dynamics and Sediment Transport in a Shallow Macrotidal

G. Lessa ............................................................................... 338

21 Net Transport of Fine Sediment in a HomogeneousTidal Channel

J. van de Kreeke ....................................................................
22 SeasonalVariability of Mobile Mud Depositsin the Tamar Estuary
R. J. Uncles, M. L. Barton and J. A. Stephens ........................... 374

23 Dry SeasonHydrodynamics and Sediment Transport in a

Mangrove Creek
P. Larcombe and P. V. Ridd .................................................... 388

24 Uniform Bottom Shear Stress and Equilibrium Hyposometry of Intertidal

C. T. Friedrichs and D. G. Aubrey ............................................ 405


25 Dispersionof Effluent from Sydney's New Deepwater Outfalls.
Part 1: Ocean processes
R. S. Lee and T. R. Pritchard ................................................... 430

26 Dispersion of Effluent from Sydney's New Deepwater Outfalls. Part 2:

Observationsof Plume Behaviour: Winter and Summer Examples
T. R. Pritchard, R. S. Lee and A. Davison ................................. 439

27 Monte Carlo Simulation of Sydney Deepwater Outfalls

T. Webb and D. Cox ............................................................... •453

28 Study of Thermal Discharge with Satellite and Airborne Data

S. Onishi ............................................................................... 467


29 Distortion and Dispersion: Dilution of Solutesin Coastal Waters
R. Smith ............................................................................... 479

30 Capillarity Correction to Periodic Solutionsof the Shallow Flow

D. A. Barry, S. J. Barry and J.-Y. Parlange ................................ 496

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS ...................................................................


Continentalshelves,coastalseasand estuariescontainmany valuableresourcesfor

economic,social,touristandrecreational activity.Themajorityof theworld'slargestcities
are locatedon thecoastline.For example,86% of thetotalAustralianpopulation is located
in the coastalzone. Almost 75 % of the global harvestof fisheriescomesfrom coastal
areas. However,it is alsothe regioninto whichanthropogenic wastesare discharged,
leadingto degradationof theenvironment. As we becomemoreawareof theconsequences
of thesedischarges,anddevelopnew management strategiesto avoiddetrimentaleffects
in estuaries
andcoastalregions,it is clearthatanunderstanding of mixingprocesses plays
a very importantrole in dispersionof introducedcontaminants.

Thisvolumeconsists of 30 papers,eachdealingwith differentaspects of mixingprocesses

in the marine environment.The following topicsare covered:inner continentalshelf
processes,shelf-estuary interactions,estuarineprocesses, sedimenttransportprocesses,
oceanoutfalls,andtheoreticalstudies.The majorityof the papersincluderesultsof field
experiments with somedegreeof integrationwith numericaland/oranalyticalmodels.A
wide varietyof environments from differentcountriesare presented.
andmacro-tidalenvironments, areasinfluencedby majoroceaniccurrentsystems,enclosed
and semi-enclosed embayments,and mangroveenvironments.

All papers includedin this volume are basedon presentations

at the 6th International
BiennialConferenceon Physicsof EstuariesandCoastalSeas,held in MargaretRiver,
Western Australia,in December1992. The themeof the conferencewas "Mixing
Processes in Estuaries and Coastal Seas." Previous conferences in this series have been
held in Hamburg, Miami, Qingdao, Monterey, and Gregynog, and each of these
conferences,exceptQingdao,hasresultedin a volumein the CoastalandEstuariesStudies
series. The aim of these conferencesis to promotethe exchangeof informationand
interactionbetweenphysicaloceanographers andcoastalengineers.The MargaretRiver
venueprovideda very relaxed,informalatmosphere in whichpaperswere presentedin
plenary sessionfollowed by a generoustime for discussion.This stimulateda rich ex-
changeof ideasmany of whichare reflectedin the contentsof the final papersincluded

I would like to take this opportunityto acknowledgethe contributionsmade by several

individualsandorganisations whichresultedin a successfulconferenceat MargaretRiver
and the subsequentpreparationof this volume. The contributorswhose researchis
presentedhere are thankedfor their patience,as well as the numerous(more than 70)
externalreviewersfor theircomments on themanuscripts,
whichensureda high scientific
qualityin the papersincludedin thisvolume.The internationalsteeringcommitteefor the
conferenceconsistedof J6rg Imberger(Centrefor Water Research,The Universityof
WesternAustralia);Ralph Cheng(U.S. GeologicalSurvey);David Prandle(Proudman
Oceanographic Laboratory,UK); andDavidAubrey(WoodsHole Oceanographic Institu-
USA). I am very grateful for the supportand adviceof theseindividualsas well
from Co van de Kreeke (Universityof Miami). Financialassistance, which wasvital for
this endeavor,was providedby: Departmentof Industry Technologyand Commerce
(Australia);CSIRO Division of Oceanography; SteedmanScienceand EngineeringPty
Ltd (now WNI Scienceand Engineering):ALCOA Australia;EnvironmentalProtection
Authority(WA); AmericanGeophysicalUnion; andthe Centrefor Water Research,The
University of WesternAustralia. Malcolm Bowman(StateUniversityof New York at
Stony Brook) is thankedfor his supportand encouragement in the preparationof the
volume.My deepestappreciationgoesto LorraineDom, who initially contributedto the
organisationof the conferencecorrespondence and the preparationof the volume of
extendedabstractsand thenpainstakinglyundertookthe taskof producingthe complete
camera-readycopy of the manuscript;without her dedicatedefforts this volumewould
not havematerialised.Finally, I wouldlike to thankmy family: Gabi, Nafyn andTesni
for theirpatienceandunderstanding duringmy extendedabsences fromhomewhichwas
necessaryto completethis volume.

Charitha Pattiaratchi
Centre for Water Research
Universityof WesternAustralia
Nedlands, Western


C. Pattiaratchi

The biennialPhysicsof Estuariesand coastalseasseriesof conferences beganin 1978

with the first conferencein Hamburg (Sandermannand Holtz, 1980). Subsequent
conferenceswere held in Miami (van de Kreeke, 1986), Qingdao, Monterey (Cheng,
1990) and Gregynog(Prandle,1992). This volumeis a collectionof paperspresentedat
the 6th conferenceheld in Margaret River, WesternAustraliain December1992. The
aim of theseconferencesis to promotethe exchangeof informationand the interaction
betweenphysicaloceanographers and coastalengineers.The 6th conferenceheld at the
MargaretRiver Hotel, was attendedby 88 peoplerepresenting ten countries(Australia,
UK, USA, Japan,Germany,France,Malaysia,New Zealand,Canada,The Netherlands)
and44 oralpapers(all in plenarysession)and 15 posterpaperswerepresented.
The themeof the 5th conferencewasMixingprocesses in estuariesand coastalseas and
papersincludedin this volume have been divided into 7 sections:introduction;inner
continental shelf processes;shelf-estuaryprocesses;estuarineprocesses;sediment
processes;oceanoutfalls;and,theoreticalstudies.A shortsummaryof papersincluded
in eachof thesesectionsare presentedbelow. Each paperhasbeenrefereedby at least
two externalreviewerswho wereaskedtojudge thepapersto a 'Journal'standard.

Inner Continental Shelf Processes

Processes on the inner continental shelf are important as the ultimate fate of
anthropogenicmaterialsis determinedby theseprocesses.In this section7 papersare
includedin a mix of field, numericaland analyticalapproaches.Mills et aI. describethe
oceanographicprocesseson the continentalshelf offshore Perth, Western Australia
during winter. Field and remotely senseddata are used to documentchangesin the
density structuredue to wind stress,freshwater inputs and meandersof the Leeuwin
Current. Black et aI. use field observationsfrom Bass Strait, south-easternAustralia to
investigate tidal dynamics, local wind forcing, factors effecting vertical mixing and
sedimenttransportprocesses. Saloman et aI. describea Lagrangian technique, the
barycentricmethod,to predict the long-termtransportof conservativetracersin tidally

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

Coastaland EstuarineStudiesVolume 50, Pages1-4
Copyright1996 by the AmericanGeophysical
2 Introduction

dominatedareasand in particular,in the EnglishChannel. Bills et al. developan oil

slick model and comparethe model output with an actual oil spill in SpencerGulf,
SouthAustralia.An analyticalapproachis usedby Yasudato investigatethe generation
of residualcurrentsdueto the non-lineareffectsin the presenceof the Stokeslayer and
earth'srotation. Thorpe et al. presentexamplesof usinghigh frequencysonarto
measurewave characteristicsin the nearshorezone, investigatesurfaceconvergence
patternsassociatedwith Langmuir circulationand to estimatethe diffusionof floating
particles. Yanagi et al. usehigh resolutionCTD andADCP datato investigatethe three
dimensionalstructureof a tidal front in the Kii Channel,Japan.


Exchangeprocessesbetween estuaries/embayments with offshore waters are of vital

importanceas the residencetime of materialin an estuarydependson theseprocesses.
Thereare four papersin this section.Hollowaypresentscurrentdatafrom JervisBay, a
low tidal energyembaymentlocatedin easternAustralia,whichprovideevidencefor the
..... , Kctvm
•,..:_ waveswithin the embayment" .....
IOl •U
by coastallytrapped
waves. It is shown that these low frequencyoscillationsenhancethe flushing of
embayments.Schroeder et al. analysesatelliteimageryandfield datafromMobile Bay,
Alabama to show that during cold-air outbreaksin the Gulf Mexico and under low
dischargeconditions,warm salinitywateris presentat the landwardendof the Bay dueto
upwelling. Smithdevelopsa modelto examinetidalandlow frequencyflushingof the
Indian River lagoonsystemin Florida. Shenget al. use a numericalmodel and field
observationsto investigatecirculationand flushing characteristicsof SarasotaBay
systemandin particular,the effectsof re-openingan inlet to the system.

Estuarine Processes

The mixing and transportprocessesof conservativematerial within estuariesdirectly

effectwaterqualityandthe 5 papersin this sectiondescribestudiesusingfield datafrom
differentestuariesaroundthe world aswell asnumericalandlaboratorytechniques.Jay
and Musiak describehow non-linearshallowwaterprocessesgeneratebarotropictidal
asymmetry leading to flood- or ebb-dominant currents as well as an internal tidal
asymmetry. Field datafrom the ColumbiaRiver (USA) Estuaryare usedto showthat
internaltidal asymmetryplay a dominantrole in the salt and sedimentbalancein narrow
stratified estuaries. Lewis usesfield data from the Tees Estuary (UK) to examine
variationsin the potentialenergyanomalyover a tidal cycle and to determinethe relative
contributionof bed andinterfacialgeneratedmixing. Hinwoodre-analysesthe laboratory
data of Keuleganto investigateconditionswhich allow the developmentof a salt wedge
in an estuarinechannel. The applicationof a simplebox model to investigateflushing
characteristicsof the Klang Estuary,Malaysiais describedby Ibrahim whilst
Pattiaratchi 3

et al. reporton the transittimesof conservative

materialandits effectson waterquality
in the WeserEstuary,Germany.

Sediment Processes

Sedimenttransportprocesses are importantfor the morphologicalchangesin estuaries

and coastal seas. They also play a major role in water quality both in terms of
determining turbidity levels (hence light propagation) and providing a transport
mechanismfor contaminants(nutrients,heavy metals etc) which attachthemselvesto
the sedimentparticles. In this section,7 papersare presentedandall exceptone paper
deal with sedimenttransportprocesses in estuaries.Joneset al. incorporatedynamicsof
suspended particulatematterin a one-dimensionalhydrodynamicmodelandtogetherwith
field measurements obtainedfrom theNorth Sea,describethe processes controllingthe
concentrationof suspendedparticulatematter under different conditions. King and
Wolanksi, usinga numericalmodel,demonstratethat the presenceof fluid mud within
estuariesmay reducethebottomfrictioncoefficient.Lessareporton theresultsof a field
experimentundertakenin LouisaCreek,a shallowmacrotidalestuarylocatedalongthe
centralQueensland coast(Australia),to investigate
morphodynamics of theestuary.van
de Kreekeshowsthat the interactionbetweentheM 2 tide andits harmonicM4 leadsto a
divergencein the sedimenttransportdirectionswithin an estuary. Uncleset al. discuss
the resultsof field measurements of suspended particulatematterin the Tamar Estuary
(UK) on spring-neap andseasonal time scalesandshowthatthereis a seasonal changein
the longitudinaldistributionof unconsolidated sedimentalong the estuary. Larcombe
and Ridd report on field measurementsof bedload and suspendedsedimentfluxes in
Gordon Creek, a meso tidal creek and mangrove swamp systemin north-eastern
Australia. The distributionof horizontalsurfaceareawith respectto elevationon tidal
flats, deftnedashypsometry,is shownby FriedrichsandAubreyto be determinedby the
relative dominance of tidal- or wave-bottom shear stress.

Ocean Outfalls

The effectsof municipalandindustrialdischarges into the coastalzonehasreceivedmuch

attentionover the years. As a resultof increasedurbandevelopmentthesedischarges
have increasedandmajor studieshavebeenundertakenin many citiesto investigatethe
effectsof increaseddischargeson the coastalenvironment. One of the mostpublicised
examplesof wastewaterdischargesto the coastalzone has beenthat of Sydneywhere
primary treateddomesacwastewaterwas dischargedat the shorelinefor a number of
years. To alleviateproblemsassociatedwith thesedischarges,new deepwateroutfalls
havebeenconstructed andcommissioned in the early 90's. Threeout of the four papers
in this sectiondescribethe performanceof thesenew deepwateroutfalls. The papersby
Lee and Pritchardand Pritchardet al. are a two part paperin which the first (Lee and
Pritchard)discussthe processeson the Sydneycontinentalshelf which influence
4 , Introduction

dispersionpatternsof thedischargeswhilstin the secondpaper,Pritchardet al. reporton

the resultsof field experimentsundertakenwith a radioactivetracer. Webb and Cox
discussresultsof Monte Carlo simulationsof the Sydneyoutfalls. Onishi presenta
methodin which the centreline of a thermaldischargeplume from a power stationmay
be determinedfrom remotelysenseddata.

Theoretical Studies

The two papers in this section present analytical solutions to investigate coastal
phenomena.Smith describesthe influenceof Earth'srotationandthe aspectratio of the
tidal ellipseon sheardispersionanddemonstrates the affectsof tidal frequency,time-scale
of vertical mixing, Coriolis parameterand tidal ellipse aspectratio on the dilution of
solutesin tidal waters. Barry et al. investigatethe behaviourof the water level in a
coastalaquiferusinga modelthatincludesthe effectsof the capillarityfringe.


The collectionof paperspresentedin thisbookreflectthe currentphilosophyof research

on mixing processesin estuariesand coastal seas. Many investigatorsnow use a
combination of field, numerical analytical and laboratory techniquesto identify the
dominantprocesseswhich controlhorizontaland vertical mixing processesas well as
transportof conservativeandnon-conservative materials. All of theseapproachesare
includedin this volume. With the currentthrustof researchbeingin waterqualityissues
and their effectson the environment,this book shouldprovidea very goodoverviewof
the currentwork on mixing andexchangeprocesses in estuariesandcoastalseas.


Cheng, R. T. Residual currents and long-term transport. Lecture Notes on Coastal and
EstuarineStudies, 38. Springer-Verlag,544 pp., 1990.
Kreeke van de, J. Physics of shallow estuaries and bays. Lecture Notes on Coastal and
Estuarine Studies, 16. Springer-Verlag, 280pp., 1986.
Prandle,D. Dynamics and exchangesin estuariesand the coastalzone. Coastal and Estuarine
Studies,40, American GeophysicalUnion, WashingtonDC, 647pp., 1992.
SandermannJ. and Holtz K.-P. (eds), Mathematical modelling of estuarinephysics. Lecture
Notes on Coastal and EstuarineStudies, 1. Springer-Verlag,265pp.,

The Responseof Stratified Shelf Waters

to the Leeuwin Current and Wind
Forcing' Winter Observationsoff Perth,
Western Australia

D. Mills, N. D'Adamo, A. Wyllie andA. Pearce


Winter observationsof the dynamic responseand transportof stratified shelf waters

off Perth, Western Australia are presented and discussed. These observations
comprisecrossshelf temperature,salinity and density structuremeasurements,wind
and current time-series data, and satellite imagery from August 1991. Leeuwin
Current water was identified over the outer shelf and slope as a thick buoyant layer
which was 4øC warmer than nearshorewater. Density generally decreasedwith
distance offshore. The data reveal the responsivenessof the cross shelf density
structure to meso-scale fluctuations of the Leeuwin Current, wind stress, and
buoyancyfluxes due to surfaceheat transferand freshwaterinputs. In particular,two
contrastingcrossshelf density structures,separatedin time by a typical winter wind
cycle, are shown. In one case, crossshelf transportof coastalwater was facilitated
and in another it was inhibited. Southward and onshore wind stress assisted the
shorewardmigrationof warm, buoyantLeeuwin Currentwater in a surfacelayer, and
the associatedcross shelf flushing of denser coastal waters in a bottom layer. In
contrast, the circulation of meso-scale meanders of the Leeuwin Current is anti-
cyclonicand we presenta caseof one suchmeanderthat forced northwardflow over
the shelf under weak wind conditions. In this case the mid shelf isopycnalswere
steeply-inclined due to upwelling, the relaxation of the density structure was
opposedand cross shelf exchangewas therefore inhibited. The satellite imagery
revealed strongly coloured plumes of dischargedestuarinewater, which could be

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages5-28
Copyright1996by the AmericanGeophysical
Responseto Leeuwin Current

traced over distancesof order 100 km along the shelf. From the hydrographicdata
we inferred that the estuarine outflows, initially low in salinity and buoyant,
underwentmixing with denserinner shelf water and eventually becamenegatively
buoyantrelative to warmer, more salineouter shelf water.


Current oceanographical studies of circulation and mixing processesover the

continental shelf off Perth, Western Australia (Hearn, 1991; Pattiaratchi and
Backhaus, 1992) are motivated by the need to understandtransport pathways of
anthropogenicwastes dischargedto the nearshoremarine environment in order to
assess the long-term ecological effects of these discharges (Environmental
ProtectionAuthority, 1990, Simpsonet al., 1993).

This paper investigatesthe hydrodynamicsand transportcharacteristicsof the Perth

coastalwaters with referenceto an August 1991 winter data set comprisingin situ
measurementsand concurrentsatellite imagery. These data are used to describethe
cross shelf physical structure extending from shallow inshore waters (< 1 km
offshore, 10 m depth) to beyond the continental shelf (85 km offshore) and to
documentvariations in the density structureof the nearshoreregion (to the 35 m
contour) at daily intervals over a typical winter meteorologicalcycle.

In winter, the Leeuwin Current advectswarm water along the outer shelf and slope
and enhancesthe crossshelf temperatureand density gradientsoff Perth (e.g. Smith
et al. 1991). Our data illustrate the influence of the Leeuwin Current and wind
forcing on the responseof the densitystructureover the shelf, the transportpathways
of estuarineplumes, and the exchangebetweennearshoreand offshorewaters.

During August 1991 nutrient-richwater draining from rural catchmentswas stained

by tannins during runoff and was then dischargedvia estuariesto the shelf. This
enabled us to use water colour as well as salinity and temperatureto interpret the
mixing and advection of these dischargesover the shelf. It also helped us to trace
cross shelf transport and exchange between nearshoreand offshore waters under
severalmeteorologicaland oceanographicalforcing conditions.

In winter, the monthly averaged wind stressvector is predominanfiy onshorewith

alternatingperiods (a few days in duration)of northwardand southwardlongshore
wind stress (Steedman and Craig, 1983, Breckling, 1989). Shallow (< 20 m)
nearshore waters off the Perth region are strongly wind-driven (Steedman and
Associates,1981, Hearn, 1991, D'Adamo, 1992) and undergocorrespondinglong-
shorereversalsin currentdirection. Since this may favour longer residencetimes of
nearshorewaters, it is importantto considerthe role and signiϥcanceof crossshelf
transportas a flushingmechanismfor nearshore
Mills et al. 7

The StudyArea andits Winter Characteristics

The continentalmargin off the coastof metropolitanPerth (Figure 1) has four zones:
(1) a nearshoreinner shelf zone of shallow (< 20 m) basins,lagoonsand channels,
partially enclosedby reefs and islands(2) a gently slopingmid shelf, approximately
30 km wide, extendingfrom the outer reefs to the 50 m isobath(3) a more inclined
outer shelf, deepeningfrom 50 m to 300 m over a distanceof 30 km, and (4) a
continentalslope. Depth contoursbeyond the inner shelf are generally smoothand
shore-parallel,except around Rottnest Island which extends acrossthe mid shelf,
and a deep submarinecanyonwhich cuts acrossthe continentalslope.


. CTD transects






Figure 1. Bathymetryof the study area and the locations of main hydrographiclines and
Responseto Leeuwin Current

The Leeuwin Current (e.g. Church et al. 1989, Smith et al. 1991) is a poleward
surfaceflow of warm tropical water which is driven along the edge of the western
continentalshelf of Australia by a steric height gradient. The currentintensifiesin
autumn and early winter when the opposingmean wind stressis weaker. Drifting
buoy tracks (e.g. Cresswelland Golding, 1980) and satelliteimagery (e.g. Legeckis
and Cresswell, 1981, Pearce and Griffiths, 1991) show the common occurrenceof
mesoscalejets, undulationsand meandersof the Leeuwin Current. The warm core
meanders have strong anticyclonic circulation around their offshore frontal
boundaries and are separatedby intervening cold cyclonic gyres. The meanders
may grow in offshoreamplitudeto more than 200 kin, before pinchingoff to form
detachededdies. On the landwardside of somemeanders,northwardrecirculating
flow adjacent to the shelf has been documentedby Pearce and Griffiths (1991).
Pearce et al. (1985), Cresswell et al. (1989) and Pearce and Church (submitted)
have shown that the mid and outer shelf off Perth is influenced by the Leeuwin

In winter, weather systemspassingover southwestAustralia from the Indian Ocean

consistof high pressureanticyclones,separatedby cold fronts. Wind recordsfrom
the studyarea show cycles,typically of 7-8 days, with episodicnorth-westto south-
west winter gales associated with cold fronts, followed by longer periods of
moderating and weak winds swinging through the south, east and north with the
passingof high pressuresystems(Steedmanand Craig, 1983, Breckling, 1989).
The nearshore
currentson the openshelfhave typicalspeedsof order0.1 ms-•
(Steedmanand Craig, 1983). They are primarily wind-driven and bathymetrically
controlled, with secondary influences from along shelf pressure gradients and
baroclinic effects. In winter, current reversals occur typically at intervals of 3-5
days, in associationwith major wind shifts. The resultantmonthly mean alongshore
in winteris of order0.01ms-• (Steedman
The water level regime of south-westernAustralia has been summarisedby Hearn
(1991). The astronomicaltides are mainly diurnal with an annualmean range of
0.5 m. Tidal currentsare of order0.01 ms-•, with tidal excursions
of order1 kin.
Lower frequency oscillations in the coastal sea level are caused by barometric
pressure,wind and oceanographic forcings,which togetherlead to elevationchanges
up to 0.5 in over a typical time period of 7 days. These oscillationsare in part a
direct sea-level responseto variationsin the barometricpressureand the associated
wind stressfields (e.g. Harrison,1983). They may alsobe due to the propagationof
coastally-trapped waves (as suggestedby Hamon (1966), Provis and Radok (1979)
and Fandry et al. (1984)).

In winter, freshwateris dischargedfrom the mouthsof the Swan-Canningestuary(at

Fremantle) and the Peel-Harvey estuary (at Mandurah) as plumes which may be
transportedalong shelf for up to 100 km (Wyllie et al., 1992, Simpsonet al., 1993).
The volumes of freshwaterdischargeshow stronginterannualvariation (Finlayson
and McMahon, 1988) however they are not of sufficientmagnitudeto overcomethe
dominanceof temperatureon the density structureat
Mills et al. 9

EnvironmentalData - August1991
Conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) transect lines occupied during the period
August 13-22, 1991 and the locationsof a moored currentmeter and a wind station
are shownin Figure 1. Vertical CTD profileswere takenfrom lessthan 1 km off the
coastat Mannion to 85 km offshore(TransectA) on August14 and 21. TransectB,
approximately16 km long, and extendingoffshorefrom the coast at Mannion to the
35 m contour,was monitoredon August13, 15, 16, 18, 20 and 22.
A CSIRO/Yeo-Kal Model 606 CTD meter was used for vertical profiling to a
maximumdepthof 300 m. A vector-averaging Neil Brown AcousticCurrentMeter
(ACM-2) measuredinner shelf currentsat mid-depthin a 20 m water column. Wind
data (at 12 m) were gatheredwith Unidata sensorsand logging systemnear the
coast at Kwinana, approximately 20 km south of Perth. LANDSAT Thematic
Mapper (TM) and NOAA AVHRR satellite images were acquired and processed
using methods discussed in Wyllie et al. (1992) to complement the in situ

Time-series of meteorological, water level and nearshorecurrents for the period

August 1-23, leading up to and includingthe durationof the oceanographicsurvey,
are shownin Figure 2 and may be describedas follows:

Winter gale conditionsprevailed from August 1-4. For 8 days leading up to the
survey(August5-12) and for the first two days of the survey(August 13-14) winds
lessthan5 ms-•. FromAugust15-17thewindswung
throughnorth to west, and freshened. August 18 saw the passageof a cold front and
the onset of another winter gale, with west to south-west winds which reached a
maximumspeedof 14 ms-1 at 1800hrson August19. Thewindthensubsided to
about7 ms-1 (south-west)
by August21. It swungto thesouthandsouth-east
weakenedfurtherto 3 ms-• by August23. Thesewinddataare alsopresented
Figure 3(a) as a progressive vector plot, to illustrate the classical synoptic
meteorological winter cycle (Breckling, 1989) experienced in the Perth region
during the period of the oceanographicsurvey.
Barometric Pressure'

The barometricpressuretime-series(Bureauof Meteorology,Perth) for August 1991

shows the passageof high and low pressuresystemsover the Perth region with
periodsof order 7 days. These pressuresystemsdrive the mesoscalewind field and
influence the water level.

Water Level:

The water level time-series at Fremantle (Department of Marine & Harbours)

exhibited tidal variations characteristic of south-western Australia, i.e. diurnal
components were dominantwith an Augustspringtide rangeof about0.8 m. Longer
period oscillations (including energetic time scales of order 7 days) were also
Responseto Leeuwin Current

20 .

• •f

• -0.2

3 8 13 18 23


Figure2. Time-seriesof windat 12 m heightat Kwinana,barometricpressureat Perth,water

level at Fremantle,andmid-depthcurrentin SepiaDepression for the periodAugust1-23,
Mills et al.



:.... .......

'•10/8/911 1(3

Wind 0

-10 Currenti
10- ....•-................;...............4--

_1'0 0 • 10 1'5 2'0 -10 6 lb

East(100 km) East(km)

Figure3. Progressive vectorplotsof (a) wind (12m) at Kwinanaand (b) mid-depthcurrentin

SepiaDepressionfor the periodAugust10-23, 1991.


Near-shorecurrentsmeasuredat mid depth in the Sepia Depression(20 m) had a

meanspeedof 0.09 ms-1. Currentdirection
alternatingnorthwardand southwardcurrentrunsof about3 daysdurationand about
30 km horizontally, subjectto bathymetricconstraints. As can be seen from the
progressivevectordiagramsof wind and current(Figures3(a) and 3(b)) long-shore
currentreversalsat this site respondedrapidly to major reversalsin the long-shore
wind component.
Streamflow data and runoff calculations for ungauged catchment areaswere
combinedto estimate freshwaterflux to the coastalwaters. The Swan-Canning
estuary(pers. comm. F Davies, Water Authority of WA, G Bott, WADEP) and the
Peel-Harvey estuary (pers. comm. D Deeley, Waterways Commission) each had
ratesto theoceanof about60-70m3 s-1.

CrossshelfStructure- August14, 1991

Vertical profiles of water temperature,salinity and densitywere measuredacrossthe
shelf and slope(TransectA, Figure 1) on August14, 1991. The crossshelf structure
of water propertieswas used, togetherwith wind and current time-seriesdata and
satellite imagery, to interpret the dynamical response of the shelf waters to
meteorologicaland oceanographical
Responseto Leeuwin Current



Plate l(a) NOAA AVHRR imagery (sea surface temperature)for August 15, 1991 showing
mesoscale features of the Leeuwin Current off the West Australian coastline.

Plate l(b) NOAA AVHRR imagery (sea surface temperature)for August 15, 1991 showing
mesoscalemeandersandjets of the Leeuwin Current in relation to the study area.
Plate l(c) LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery of the study area for August 14, TM
bands 1,2,3 - (Blue, Green, Red).
Plate l(d) LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery of the study area for August 14, TM
band 6- Thermal
Mills et al. 13

Cloud-freeNOAA AVHRR imagery for August 15 (Plates l(a) and (b)) showstwo
mesoscale,warm-coremeandersof the Leeuwin Currentextendingto about200 km
seawardof the shelf break betweenthe latitudes30 and 33øS. Offshore, beyond the
shelf, thesemeanderswere separatedby an elongatedcold water gyre. Inshore of
this gyre, over the shelf and slope, the meanderswere linked togetherby a short
polewardjet (Pearceand Griffiths, 1991) of the LeeuwinCurrent.
The southernmeanderwas situateddirectly seawardof the study area and extended
80-100 km in a longshelf direction. The presenceof smaller-scalebillows on its
western and southernfronts suggestthat there was strong cross-frontal shear and
anticlockwisecirculationaboutthe meander. CTD profiles were obtainedfrom outer
shelf and slope stations located within (the eastern side of) this meander. The
salinity,temperatureand densitycontoursfrom thesestations(Figure 4) indicateda
depth scale for the meanderof about 150 m. The NOAA imagery was used to
a horizontal
of 1.2kg m-3(AT.-5'C) in 20 km across
offshore front of the meander. Hence the baroclinic shear differential was estimated
(e.g.Gill, 1982)tohavebeenof order1ms-•.

Plates l(c) and l(d) show the visible and thermal band LANDSAT images of
continentalshelfand slopewatersoff Perthfor August14, 1991. The thermalband
image revealsa sea-surfacetemperaturedifferential acrossthe shelf of about 3øC,
with warmer water (offshore) and cooler water (near the coast) separatedby a
distinct front. The warmest water (~20øC) was located at the easternmargin of the
Leeuwin Current meander discussedabove. The image also shows a tongue-like
incursion of Leeuwin Current water across the mid shelf, north of Rotmest Island,
andas a resultof this the temperature
front approached
to within 15 km of the coast.
Plate l(b) suggeststhat someof the anticlockwiseflow returningshorewardon the
southernside of the meanderwas subsequentlyrecirculatednorthwardover the outer
shelf, while the remainder was diverted south as a continuation of the Leeuwin
Current. Such behaviourwas clearly identified by Pearceand Griffiths (1991) for a
similar meander.

Plate l(c), the visible band image, reveals the extent and trajectory of plumes
emanatingfrom the Peel-Harvey and the Swan-Canningestuaries. These plumes
were strongly coloured by tannins, dissolved during freshwater runoff from the
catchments.Upon dischargefrom the estuarymouthsat Fremantleand Mandurah,
the plumes initially spreadoffshore (to the west-north-west). Further away from
their respective sources, they moved in a long shelf (northward) direction.
Reference to Plate l(d) shows that the plumes were bounded offshore by the
temperaturefront. In the caseof the Peel-Harveyplume this occurrednear the mid
shelfbreak. In the caseof the Swan-Canningplume,it occurredwithin 15 km of the
coast. These imagesindicatethat plumescan transportestuarinewater alongshelf
up to 100 km away from
Responseto Leeuwin Current

PhysicalStructureoverthe OuterShelfand Slope-August14, 1991

As shownin Figure 4, a warm, well-mixed, 140 m deep surfacelayer was situated

over the outer shelf and slope. This has been identified in Section4.1 as the eastern
edge of an anti-clockwisecirculatingmeanderof the Leeuwin Current. Beneaththis
layerwasa zoneof strong
(Ap=1.6kg m-3).
At 245 m depththe density,salinityand temperaturecontourswere horizontal,the
salinity was maximum (35.85 pss) and the water propertieswere characteristicof
SouthIndian Central Water, as reportedby Rochford(1969). Above this level the
isopycnalsinclined upwardtoward the continentalmargin. The horizontalextent of
this isopycnaldeformationwas about30 lcm. This scaleswith the baroclinicRossby
radius(R - NH/f) calculatedfor the shelfslope,wherethe buoyancyfrequency,N ~
10-2s-•, thetotaldepth,H ~ 300m andtheCoriolis
f ~ -7.7x 10-5 s4.
The density structurethereforesuggestsupwelling supportedby vertical shearflow
to the north above a level of 245 m depth.
o o


200 200

(a) (b)
300 300 '
80 40 0 80 4'0 0
Distance (km) Distance(kin)



80 40
(c) 0

Figure 4. Crossshelf hydrographicsectionalongTransectA from Mamaion to 85 km offshore

temperaturestructure(contourinterval0.2øC), and (c) salinity structure(contourinterval
Mills et al. 15

Estimates of the baroclinic shear associated with an inclined density structure can
be obtainedfrom the thermal wind equation(e.g. Gill, 1982) as

Av ~-g Ap Az/(p f Ax) (1)

where Av/Az characterisesthe vertical gradient of the current componentthat is

perpendicularto the density section, Ap/Ax characterisesthe horizontal density
gradient,g (= 9.8 ms-2) is the gravitational
p (= 1025kg m-3) is a
density andf (=-7.7 x 10-5s-1) is theCoriolisparameter.Appliedto the
upwelleddensity'structureovertheoutershelfandslope(whereAp/Ax= 0.9x 10-5
kg m-n,Az = 100m) equation (1) yieldsa northward
flow of about0.15 ms-1 near
the base of the upper mixed layer (relative to an assumed level of no motion at
245 m).

PhysicalStructureovertheMid Shelf- August14, 1991

The physical structure across the mid shelf (Transect A, Figure 4) exhibited a
horizontaldensitydifferential(about0.5 kg m-3) and steeply-inclined
density contours. Inner shelf waters, of lower temperature and salinity, were
generally denserthan surface waters over the outer shelf. The mid shelf structureof
August 14 comprisedthe following main features:

(a) a steepdensityfront(Ap = 0.12kg m-3) situated

at themid shelfbreak,which
delineated the warm, buoyant surface layer (the Leeuwin Current meander) from
mid shelf waters; (b) a dense core of cooler, fresher water (local maximum •t -
25.34kg m-3) centredat the50 m depthcontourandpartiallyoverlainby lighter
water, both from inshore and offshore; (c) a less dense mid shelf water mass with
propertiesvery similar to Leeuwin Current water; (d) a region of stronghorizontal
temperatureand density gradient located about 15 km offshore, separatingcooler,
freshetcoastalwater from warmer water of off-shoreorigin.

The main features of the cross shelf hydrographicstructure, listed above, can be
identifiedby inspectionof the LANDSAT imagery. Plate l(c) showsthat the darkly
coloured estuarineplume from Mandurah travelled in an along shelf direction and
intersectedTransectA at the 50 m depth contour. The densebut slightly fresh core
found at this location in the cross shelf structure was therefore identified as diluted
plume water from the Peel-Harvey estuary,about one week after dischargeand 80
km from its source. The initially buoyant, estuarineplume had mixed with cool,
dense inner shelf water, reducing its salinity deficit, and had eventually become
more dense than the warmer, outer shelf Leeuwin Current water.

The less dense, warm water mass on the mid shelf was identified from the satellite
imagery as part of the tongue-like incursion of Leeuwin Current water, north of
Rottnest Island. This warm water tongue was situatedbetween the Peel-Harvey
plume (to seaward) and coastal water (to shoreward). The shore-parallelSwan-
Canning estuary plume was located immediately inshore of a sharp
16 Responseto Leeuwin Current

temperaturegradientzone (Plates l(c) and l(d)) which was identified but not finely
resolvedin the hydrographicstructureof August14.
The generalpicture acrossthe mid shelf is thereforeone of adjacentwater massesof
different density, including estuarine plumes, coastal waters and the Leeuwin
Current. Contours were steeply inclined, with strong horizontal gradients and
opposingdensity fronts. These local variations and slope reversalswere associated
with differential longshoreadvection,causinginterleaving of distinct water masses,
as also inferred from the LANDSAT imagery. Figure 5 provides a schematic
representation of the LANDSAT imagesand the hydrographicsectionalong Transect
A for August14.
For the9 dayperiodprecedingthiscruise,themeanwindspeedwas3.7 ms-1 and
windsseldom exceeded5 ms-1 (Figure2). D'Adamo(1992)showed
vertical mixing of mid shelf waters by such weak winds was unlikely under winter
hydrographicconditions. The internalRossbyradius of deformationfor the mid shelf
(Ap = 0.5 kg m-3, H = 50 m) wasabout5 kin,muchsmaller
thanthewidthof the
mid shelf itself. The steeplyinclineddensitystructurehas thereforebeen interpreted
as an upwelling responseconsistentwith northward flow over the shell as recorded
by the inshore current meter and indicated by the northward advection of estuarine
plumes over the mid shelf.
Simple along shelf momentumbalance calculationsinvolving wind stress,along
shelfpressuregradientandbottomstresssuggest that a 5 ms-• southerlywind
opposed by analongshelfsea-surface
of order10-7, typicalfortheregionin
winter(Smithet aI. 1991)wouldnotbeableto drivenortherlyflowof about0.1ms-•
over the mid shelf. It is therefore proposed that the offshore Leeuwin Current
meander was mainly responsiblefor forcing the northward flow over the shelf and
slope for several days prior to August 14. This forcing opposedgravitational
relaxation of the inclined density structureand inhibited crossshelf transport. This
probably occurred over a long shelf distanceof about 100 kin, commensuratewith
the dimension of the meander. The satellite imagery shows that the dense Peel-
Harvey plume was constrainedto travel along the mid shelf for a similar distance.
It is not possibleat presentto estimatethe frequencyand duration of eventssuch as
described in this section. However, Pearce and Griffiths (1991) showed that
mesoscale features of the Leeuwin Current are common and that they tend to
migrateonly slowly. Smith et aI. (1991) noted somemesoscalereversalsin the long
shelf pressuregradient off the Western Australian continentalshelf and suggested
that they may have been causedby the presenceof mesoscalemeandersand eddies
of the Leeuwin Current.

Crossshelf Structure- August21, 1991

The physical structureacrossthe shelf and slope (TransectA) was again measured
on August 21, 1991 and is discussedhere with referenceto complementarysatellite
imagery and available time-seriesdata. This structurewas in sharp contrastto that
of August14,
Mills et al. 17

i• Leeuwin
• •0o

,• .,' ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

i '" ' ' "'• ....7

. iiiiiil ...........................................


300 ,-7-' •-'

Figure 5. Schematicof the inferred flow structurefor August 14, 1991, in the vicinity of
TransectA, derived from LandsatTM imagery and the hydrographicsection.


A comparisonof NOAA AVHRR imagesfor August15 and August22 shows(Figure

6) that a significant change occurredduring this period in the offshore mesoscale
featuresassociatedwith the Leeuwin Current. In particular, the two well-developed
meandersmigrated southward,and by August 22, the short Leeuwin Current jet
linking the meanderswas situateddirectly off the study area (TransectA). Hence,
it is suggestedthat the northwardflow over the outer shelf on August 14 had given
way to southwardflow a week
Responseto Leeuwin Current

• ""'........C•••

0 50 100 200km

Figure 6. Outer edge of the mesoscalemeandersand jets of the Leeuwin Current, showing
southwardmigration over the period August 15-22, 1991. Data from NOAA AVHRR satellite


This period also saw the passageof cold fronts, which brought first northerly and
then strong onshore winds for several days (see Figures 2 and 3). These winds
becamemore southerlyand moderatedas the next high pressuresystemapproached.

PhysicalStructureoverthe OuterShelfand Slope- August21, 1991

A warm well-mixed surface layer (the Leeuwin Current) overlaying a vertically

stratified zone was again found on August 21, as shownin Figure 7. However, the
structurewas different to that of August 14 in that the contoursof the pycnocline
either deepened or remained nearly horizontal as they approachedthe outer shelf
and slope. The upwelled structureof August 14 was gone, and replaced by an
apparentlydownwelled structureon August 21. The onset of downwelling
Mills et al.


200 200

3008'0 4'0 io io o
Distance (kin) Distance (km)



10 10 o
Distance (km)

Figure 7. Crossshelf hydrographicsectionalongTransectA from Marmion to 85 km offshore

temperaturestructure(contourinterval 0.2øC), and (c) salinity structure(contour interval
0.025 psu)

require a southwardflow. Hence, the evidencepresentedabove for a reversal from

northwardto southwardflow over the outer shelf during this period is consistentwith
the observedchangein the density structure.
Figure 7 also reveals a narrow zone of steeply inclined temperature, salinity and
density contours adjacent to the outer shelf. This represents a baroclinically-
enhancedleakage of cool, relatively fresh (but dense) water off the mid shelf, and
would again be consistentwith southwardflow, downwelling and offshore Ekman
transportin a bottom boundarylayer.

PhysicalStructureovertheMid Shelf- August21, 1991

By August 21 cooler, fresher,densercoastalwater had moved off-shore acrossthe

mid shelf beneath warmer water (see Figure 7). The thermocline, halocline
Responseto Leeuwin Current

pycnoclinewere well-definedand horizontalat a depthof about 25 m delineatingan

upper mixed layer of constant thickness from a lower mixed layer thickening
offshore. The horizontal salinity differencein the upper layer was small, indicating
that Leeuwin Current water had moved shorewardand cooled, but had undergone
minimal mixing with coastalwater. In contrast,the lower layer exhibited a marked
offshoresalinity gradient,possiblythe result of entrainmentfrom the upper layer.

Discussionof FactorsLeadingto theChangedStructureof August21

It has been shown that the structureacrossthe mid shelf changedmarkedlyover the
period August 14-21, from a steeply inclined structure with strong cross shelf
gradients and small vertical stratificationto a distinctly two-layered structure. In
this section we discussa range of factors and processeswhich could have caused
the observedstructuralchange.
Interestingly,the steeply-inclinedstructureof August 14 occurredunder very weak
wind conditions,whereasthe vertically-layeredstructureof August 21 formed under
strongerwind conditions. From this we make two deductions. Firstly, wind-induced
vertical mixing was unlikely to have been primarily responsiblefor the change in
the vertical density structureacrossthe mid shelf, althoughit may have contributed
to the well-mixed nature of the upper layer (Figure 7). Secondly, the change of
structurewas unlikely to have been primarily due to a baroclinic relaxation, which
normally occurs when there has been a reduction in energy available for vertical
mixing. The horizontal length scale for baroclinic relaxation is the internal Rossby
radius of deformation, which has already been shown to be much smaller than the
mid shelf width. However the layered structureof August 21 extendedfight across
the mid shelf.

Enhanced differential cooling, a reduction in freshwater flux, or a change to the

density of outer shelf waters are factors which could have led to an increase in
density differential acrossthe mid shelf and hence to a changein the hydrographic
structure. However the density differential would need to have increasedby an order
of magnitude for the internal Rossby radius of deformation to scale with the mid
shelf width. Comparisonof Figures 4 and 7 showsthat this did not happen. It is
therefore concluded that the observed change in structure was not primarily in
responseto a rapid increasein the densitydifferential over the mid shelf.
The onset of a southward current over the mid and outer shelf during the period
August 14-21 could possibly explain the development of the two-layered density
structure over the mid shelf. In the absence of outer shelf current meter data, there
are two pieces of evidence which suggesta reversion to a southwardcurrent: (a)
comparison of NOAA satellite images from the beginning and end of the period
show (Figure 6) that the short Leeuwin Current jet conveying southward flow
between the two meandershad itself migrated southward,to be situateddirectly off
TransectA; and (b) comparisonof the densitydistributionsfor August 14 and August
21 shows the onset of a downwelling structure at about 200 m depth over the
continentalslope that is consistentwith a southwardflowing Leeuwin
Mills et al. 21

Southward flow would have induced secondary cross shelf circulation with
shoreward transport above a compensatingoffshore Ekman transportnear the sea
bed. This circulation would have facilitated an exchangebetween buoyant Leeuwin
Current water (moving landward in a surface layer) and dense coastal water
(moving seawardacrossthe mid shelf in a lower layer) over distancesmuch greater
than the local baroclinic Rossby radius of deformation. The following calculations
were made to further examine this hypothesis. The Pollard, Rhines and Thompson
(1973) expressionfor the mixed layer depth of a rotating, stratified fluid may be
used to estimate the bottom shear velocity (u*) required to achieve a specified
bottom mixed layer depth (hmax):

u* = (Nf)1/2hmax/2
TM (2)

At the 50 m depthcontourthe observedbottomlayer depthfor August 21 was 25 m.

Fora valueof N ~ 10-2 s-1, equation
(2) givesu* ~ 10-2ms-1, whichwouldrequirea
currentspeed-- 0.2 ms-1. A southward currentwiththisbottomshearstresswould
leadto an offshore bottomEkmanflux of x/pf = (u*)2/f-- -1.5 m2 s-•. Dividing
bottom Ekman flux by bottom mixed-layer thickness gives an offshore velocity
for thebottomlayerof 0.06 ms-•. For a midshelfwidthof ~ 20 km, this
suggestsan advective timescale for bottom water to traversethe mid shelf of about
4 days, which seemsreasonable,given that the changein observedstructureacross
the mid shelf occurred in less than 1 week.

Southward and then strong onshorewind stress,and an associatedpeak in coastal

sea level (Figures 2 and 3) occurredin the week between the cross shelf transects.
It is suggestedthat these forcings would also have driven onshore movement of
warmer surface water and offshore underflow of denser coastal water. This will be
further examined below.

Responseof the Inner shelfPhysicalStructureto Forcings

The two contrastingcrossshelf structuresdiscussedabove were separatedby 7 days.
More closely spacedCTD measurementsof the inner shelf physical structurefrom
the coast at Marmion to the 35 m depth contour (Transect B, Figure 1) were
undertakenon August 13, 15, 16, 18, 20 and 22. These data are briefly examined
here for three reasons: (a) they highlight the presence and mobility of a major
nearshoretemperature/densityfront; (b) they better resolve the transition between
inner shelf and mid shelf density structure;(c) they indicatewhen the major change
in crossshelf density structurewas initiated.

The major near-shoredensity front was dominatedby a sharp temperaturegradient

and formed the boundarybetween warm Leeuwin Current water, transportedacross
the shelf, and coastal water. The coastal water was generally cooler, slightly less
saline and more dense than the offshore waters. Plumes from the Swan-Canning
estuary were sometimes detected as small surface cores in the density
Responseto Leeuwin Current

along TransectB. Theseplumesoverflowedthe coastalwaters,howeverthey were

generallylessbuoyantthanthe LeeuwinCurrentwaterto seawardof the major front.
The cross shelf migration of the major near-shorefront is now describedand its
responseis discussedwith referenceto the history of wind forcing, the coastalwater
level and the near-shore flow.

Northward Nearshore Flow

On August13 the front was near vertical,and locatedat the 30 m depthcontour,16

km offshore(Figure 8(a)). A similar inclinationof densitycontoursand locationof
the front was noted (Figure 4) in the cross shelf transect of August 14, under
repeatedconditionsof northwardnearshoreflow and weak winds.

North to South Nearshore Flow Reversal

On August 15 the surfaceexpressionof the front was found to be within 8 km of the

coast(Figure 8(b)). The front was less steeply-inclinedthan on the precedingtwo
days, but still extendedfrom top to bottomof the water column,meetingthe seabed
at the 30 m depthcontour. The longshorewind componentand the nearshorecurrent
slowed and reverseddirectionon August 15. Warm water was found 8 km closer to
the coast along TransectB.

Southward Nearshore Flow

The southwardnearshorecurrent strengthenedfrom August 15 to 16 under the

influenceof a strengtheningsouthwardwind stresscomponent. CTD data from the
August 16 transect(Figure 8(c)) showsthat the surfacefront had moved a further 2
km onshore.

Southto North Flow Reversaland StrongOnshoreWind

Figure 8(d) showsthat by August18 a markedstructuralchangehad occurred. The

surface front had moved to within about 2 km of the coast. Further offshore the front
had been depressedto a horizontaldensity interface25 m below the water surface,
delineating a lower layer of relatively cool, less saline water which extended
offshorebeyondthe 35 m depthcontourfrom a warm upperlayer. August18 saw the
cessationof northwesterlywinds and the commencementof strong onshorewinds
(Figure 3). The southwardnear-shorecurrentdeceleratedrapidly prior to reversal
(on August 19) from southwardto northwardflow. The recenthistoryof southward
and strong onshorewind stress,and the associatedrise in coastalsea level (Figure
3) appearsto have combinedto force onshoremovementof warmer surfacewater
and offshore underflow of denser coastal
Mills et al.

12 8 4 12 8 4
Distance (km) Distance (km)

12 8 4 0
Distance (km)

0 j


(d) (e)
12 8 4 0 1• • • 0
Distance(km) Distance(km)

8. Cross
0.05kg m-3) alongTransect
B from Mannion to 16 km off-shore, for (a) August 13, (b) August 15, (c) August 16, (d)
August 18, and (e) August 22,
Responseto Leeuwin Current

In addition to the coastal downwelling processjust described,wind mixing would

also have contributedto producingthe observedstructure. An estimateof mixing to
20 tn depth was calculatedfrom the theoryof Pollard, Rhinesand Thompson(1973)
for the 10 hour, 8 ms-1 wind event (August17/18) that precededthe CTD
measurements. However the salinity and temperature properties of the density
interfaceat 25 tn depthremainedessentiallythe sameas for the near shorefront on
preceding days, suggesting that coastal downwelling was the principal process
involved in the structuralchange.

Northward Nearshore Flow and Onshore Wind Stress

By August 20, the wind was still onshore,but with a clear northwardcomponent,
currentwasto thenorthat about0.1 ms-1 (Figure3). Thesurface
front had moved offshoremore than 10 km (water depth >30 m) beyondthe outer
profile station occupiedon that day.
The cross shelf structure measured along Transect A on August 21 has been
documentedin section 5. The near-shorezone of the transect(to the 20 m contour,
~10 km offshore) possessed considerablylower salinity due to northwardadvection
of the Swan-Canningestuaryplume. Further off the coast,a well definedhorizontal
density interface at about 25 m depth extendedfrom 10 km offshore (30 m depth
contour) across the mid shelf to the mid shelf break. This is reminiscent of the
featureformed by coastaldownwellingon August 18.
By August 22 the wind was swinging to northward and the nearshorecurrent was
also to the north. Figure 8(e) reveals that the surface front was located 14 km
offshore(35 m contour). It was essentiallyvertical down to 22 m, at which depth it
became horizontal and extendedoffshore. This suggeststhat the lower layer was
still present over the mid shelf. Nearer to the shore is cooler, low salinity water
associatedwith a newly introducednorthward flowing Swan River plume. This
generateda buoyant structurein the coastalzone, but it was not buoyantenough to
ovemde Leeuwin Current water.

Based on the chronology of the front outlined in this section, it is likely that the
lower layer crossshelf transportof coastalwater was initiatedon August17 or 18. A
crossshelf advectionof 25 km in 3-4 days equatesto a crossshelf velocity of order
0.05 ms-1.


This paper showsthat mesoscalefeaturesof the Leeuwin Current, suchas meanders

and jets, may significantly influence the response of adjacent continental shelf
waters. A well-developedanticlockwisecirculatingmeanderof the Leeuwin
Mills et al. 25

was situatedoff the Perth shelf for several days prior to our measurementperiod.
Winds had been very light and variable for the preceding10 days. The crossshelf
hydrographicstructure of August 14 revealed a transversebaroclinic upwelling
responseof the pycnoclinebetween140-240m depthover the outershelf. Estimates
of the vertical shearrequiredto supportthis upwelleddensitystructurewere derived
windequation.Onthisbasisa northward
flowof about0.15ms-1at
the easternedgeof the Leeuwin Currentmeanderwas inferred. Pearceand Griffiths
(1991) have previously documentednorthwardrecirculatingflow on the landward
side of such meanders. Light, variable winds over the preceding 10 days were
consideredtoo weak to have inducedthe observedupwelling responseover the outer
shelf, which we attributed to the recirculating flow of the offshore meander. The
mid shelf structure of August 14 was characterisedby steeply-inclined density
contours and marked horizontal density gradients, with density decreasing in the
offshore direction. The preceding period of light winds suggeststhat upwelling,
rather than vertical wind mixing was responsiblefor the perturbedmid shelf density

Strongly coloured plumes of dischargedestuarine water were revealed by the

satelliteimagery. These plumescould be tracedover distancesup to 100 km long
shelf. From the hydrographicdata we inferred that the estuarineoutflows, initially
low in salinity and buoyant, underwentmixing with denser inner shelf water and
eventually became negatively buoyant relative to warmer, more saline outer shelf
water. The upwelleddensitystructureof August14 inhibitedcrossshelftransportof
theserelatively denseplumes which were advectednorthwardalong the shelf and
remainedshorewardof steeply-inclineddensity fronts marking the easternedge of
the Leeuwin Current meander. Under these conditions,the plumes mixed slowly,
showinglow ratesof dilution.

Between August 14 and 21, significantchangesoccurredboth in oceanographical

and meteorologicalconditions. By the end of this period the two well-developed
Leeuwin Currentmeandershad migratedsouthwardand the shortsectionof Leeuwin
Current jet flow linking the meanderswas situated directly off the study area.
Henceit is suggested that the northwardflow adjacentto the Perth shelf on August
14 had given way to southwardflow a week later. Longshorewind stresswas
southwardfrom August 15-17 and this was followed by onshorewind stressfrom
August 18-21. The movementof a major densityfront was trackedacrossthe inner
shelf during this week. By August18 it had approachedto within 2 km of the coast,
andhad undergonecoastaldownwelling,which led to the formationof a denselower
layer of cooler,lesssalinewater, extendingoffshorebeyondthe 35 m depthcontour.

By August 21 the cross shelf density structure displayed depression of the

pycnoclineover the outer shelf and slope,and a two-layervertical structurewhich
extendedacrossthe mid shelf. The formation of the two-layer mid shelf structure
was indicative of crossshelf exchange,with warm, offshorewater moving landward
in the s,urface layer and cooler, fresherwater moving seawardin the bottom layer.
The estimatedtime scale of about 4 days for establishmentof the two-layer
Responseto Leeuwin Current

structure, observed over the mid shelf on August 21, was consistent with the
observedformationof the lower layer on August 18.

The vertically-stratified
mid shelf structureof August21 evolvedin the presenceof
strongwind forcing, whereasthe steeply-inclinedstructureof August 14 evolved in
the presenceof weak wind forcing. We have discussedvariousmechanismsin an
attempt to explain the observed changesin mid shelf structure and the cross shelf
transportof coastal water. Neither vertical wind mixing nor baroclinicrelaxation
appear to be primary mechanisms. However downwelling associatedwith a
poleward Leeuwin Current jet flow (Thompson, 1987, Smith et al., 1991), Ekman
adjustmentover the mid shelf in responseto southwardwind stress(Csanady,1982)
and direct shorewardwind-drivensurfaceadvectiondue to strongonshorewinds
appearto have been primary contributorsto the observedchanges. In the presence
of the density differential acrossthe shelf, thesemechanismswould explain the
observedtwo-layer structure.

Many peoplehelpedin gatheringand processing
the data. In
particular we wish to thank Mr Andrew Sanders (WADEP) and Mr Bob Griffith
(CSIRO) for their assistancein instrumentpreparation,deployment.and data
processing. The Departmentof Marine and Harboursprovided a vesseland crew.
The Remote Sensing Applications Centre, Department of Land Administration
provided facilities for the processingof satellite imagery. The Centre for Water
Research(CWR) at the Universityof WesternAustraliakindly providedsoftwarefor
processingand contouring CTD data. Mr Don Wallace and Mr Grant Ryan
(Departmentof MarineandHarbours)suppliedwaterlevel andwavedatafor August
1991. Mr GregMay (WaterAuthorityof WesternAustralia)andMr David Deeley
(WaterwaysCommission)assistedwith the provisionof streamflowdata. Dr Ken
Raynet and Mr Peter Mountford (WADEP) gave advice and assistancewith
meteorologicaldata. Dr PeterCraig and ProfessorDavid Wilkinsonare particularly
thankedfor providingusefulcommentson an early draft of the paper.


Breckling,J. The analysisof directionaltime series:Applicationsto wind speedanddirection.

In LectureNotesin Statistics- 61. Springer-Verlag.23lpp, 1989.
Church,J.A., G.R. CresswellandJ.S.Godfrey.The LeeuwinCurrent.In PolewardFlows along
EasternOceanBoundaries,editedby S. Neshyba,C.N.K. Mooersand R.L. Smith,379 pp,
Springer-VerlagNew York Inc., 1989.
Cresswell,G.R. The trappingof two driftingbuoysby an oceaneddy.Deep SeaRes. 24, 1203-
1209, 1977.
Cresswell,G.R. and T.J. Golding,Observationsof a south-flowingcurrent in the south-eastern
Indian Ocean. Deep-SeaRes. 27A:449-466, 1980.
Cresswell, G.R. The Leeuwin Current - observations and recent models. In The Leeuwin
Current:an influenceon the coastalclimateand marine life of WesternAustralia,editedby
A.F. PearceandD.I. Walker). J. Roy. Soc.WA 74:1-14,
Mills et al. 27

Csanady,G.T. Circulationin the CoastalOcean. D. Reidel PublishingCompany,Dordrecht,

279 pp., 1982.
D'Adamo, N. Hydrodynamicsand recommendations for further studiesin CockburnSound and
adjacentwaters. Technical series41. EnvironmentalProtectionAuthority, Perth, Western
Australia, 100pp., 1992
EnvironmentalProtectionAuthority. ProposedBeenyupwastewatertreatmentplant and ocean
outfall duplication into Marmion Marine Park. Bulletin 393 Environmental Protection
Authority, Perth,Western Australia, 16pp., 1990.
Fandry, C.F., Leslie, L.M. and R.K. Steedman, Kelvin-typecoastalsurgesgeneratedby
tropicalcyclones.J. Phys. Ocean. 14, 582-593, 1984.
Finlayson,B.L. and T.A. McMahon, Australiavs the World, a comparativeanalysisof
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of Australia, edited by R.F. Warner,
pp. 17-40, Academic Press, 1988.
Gill, A.E. Atmosphere-Ocean
Dynamics.AcademicPress,New York. 662 pp, 1982.
Hamon,B.V. Geostrophiccurrentsin the south-eastern
Indian Ocean.Aust.J. Mar. Freshw.Res.
16, 255-272, 1965.
Hamon,B.V. ContinentalShelf wavesandthe effectsof atmosphericpressureand wind stress
on sealevel. J. Geophys.Res. 71, 2883-2893, 1966.
Harrison, G.E. Low frequency sea level oscillationsalong the Western Australian coastline.
M.E. Thesis,University of WesternAustralia, 1983.
Hearn,C.J. A reviewof paststudiesof the hydrodynamics of Cockburnsoundandsurrounding
waters with an appraisal of physical processesand recommendationsfor future data
collectionand modelling.Reportto the EnvironmentalProtectionAuthority, Perth,Western
Australia, 75pp, 1991.
Legeckis,R. and G.R. Cresswell,Satelliteobservations of sea-surfacetemperaturefronts off
the coastof westernand southernAustralia.Deep Sea Res., 28, 297-306, 1981.
Pattiaratchi,C.B. and J. Backhaus, Circulationpatternson the continental shelf off Perth,
Western Australia. Application of a 3D baroclinic model. Proceedings of the Sixth
InternationalConference on Physicsof Estuariesand Coastal Seas,Margaret River, Western
Australia, 8-10 December 1992, 231-234, 1992.
Pearce, A.F. and J.A. Church (submitted)A coastal heat and salt budget using seasonal
temperatureand salinity data off Perth, Western Austrtalia, submitted to Continental Shelf

Pearce,A.F. and R.W. Griffiths The Mesoscalestructureof the Leeuwin Current.J. Geophys
Res. C96:16739-16757, 1991.
Pearce,A.F. and Phillips, 1990 Oceanicprocesses,Puerulussettlementand recruitmentof the
WesternRock LobsterPanuliruscygnus.BodenResearchConferenceon Interdisciplinary
Approachesto Dispersal and RecruitmentProcessesin the Marine Environment,Thredbo
Pearce,A.F.,R.E. Johannes,C.R. Manning, D.W. Rimmer and D.F. Smith. Hydrology and
nutrientdataoff Martaion, Perth,1979-1982.CSIRO Marine LaboratoriesReport 167, 1985.
Pollard,R.T., P.B. Rhinesand R.O.R.Y. Thompson.The deepeningof the wind-mixedlayer,
Geophys.Fluid Dynamics,3, 381-404, 1973.
Provis, D.G. and R. Radok. Sea level oscillations along the Australian coast. Aust. J. Mar.
Freshw. Res. 30 295-301, 1979.
Rochford,D. Seasonalvariationsin the Indian Oceanalong 110øE.1. Hydrologicalstructureof
the upper500m. Aust.J. Mar. Freshw.Res.,20, 7-30, 1969.
Simpson,J.E. Gravity currentsin the laboratory,atmosphere,and ocean.Ann.Rev. Fluid Mech.
14, 213-234,
Responseto Leeuwin Current

Simpson, C.J., J.S. Burr, J.L. Cary, N. D'Adamo, R.J. Masini and D.A. Mills Southern
Metropolitan Coastal Waters Study (1991-1994) ProgressReport August 1993. Technical
Series 53. Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia, Perth, Western
Australia.65pp, 1993.
Smith, R.L., A. Huyer, J.S. Godfrey and J.A. Church, The Leeuwin Current off Western
Australia,1986-1987. J. Phys.Oceanogr.21: 323-345, 1991.
Steedman, R.K. and Associates,Cape Peron wastewater ocean outlet effluent dispersion
studies,Unpublishedreportpreparedfor Binnie and Partners,1981.
Steedman,R.K. and P.D. Craig, Wind-driven circulation of Cockbum Sound. Aust.J. Mar.
Freshw. Res. 34, 187-212, 1983.
Thompson,R.O.R.Y. Continentalshelf-scalemodel of the Leeuwin Current. J. Mar. Res. 45,
813-827, 1987.
Wyllie, A., A. Buchanan,N. D'Adamo, D. Mills and A. Pearce.The use of LandsatThematic
Mapper and NOAA AVHRR for environmentalinvestigationsof the Perth metropolitan
coastalwaters.Proceedings,6th AustralasianRemoteSensing Conference, 2-6 Nov, 1992,
Wellington, New Zealand, 3, 203-208,

Measurements of the Wave, Current and

Sea Level Dynamics of an Exposed
Coastal Site

K. Black, M. Rosenberg,G. Symonds,R. Simons,C. Pattiaratchi,

and P. Nielsen


Field studieswere undertakenat a coastal location (Bass Strait) to investigate the

interaction of waves and currents and to establishrelationshipsbetween nearshore
and offshore wave parameters, including friction in mixed wave/current
environments.The area is characterised by moderatetidal currents(maximum spring
flow of about0.18 ms-1) and waveenergy(Hs andT s of about2 m and 10 s
Wave-recordingelectromagneticcurrentmeters were deployed along a 13 km shore-
normal transectat 3 sitesof depth 20, 40 and 50 m. Six week deploymentsduring
winter and summerwere made with currentmeters at up to four levels above the bed
at each site. At the inshoresite, suspendedsedimentmonitors and a video camera
were deployedon a frame loweredto the seabed. The underwatervideo camerawas
used to specify the sedimentthresholdand the changingnature of the bedforms. In
addition, to determine the bed roughnessalong the cross-shelftransect,the sea bed
was observedusing ship-bornevideo at 23 sites400-800 m apart. Bed characteristics
were also observedat an additional 103 sites in the surroundingregions. The fall
velocity and grain size of the bed sedimentsfrom these sites were determinedusing
settling tube analyses.
The interaction of waves and currents and the frequency attenuation of the wave
spectrumwith distancebelow the surfaceis consideredto be responsiblefor a belt of
coarsersandsand larger bedformsidentifiedat 30-45 m depth. The sedimentswere

Mixing in EstuariesandCoastalSeas
CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume 50, Pages29-58
Copyright1996by theAmericanGeophysical Union
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

finer and the bedform heights were smaller both shorewards and offshore of this
region. A thermocline was common in summer and up to 4 øC temperature
differences were observed between the bed and near the surface in 40 m depth.
Using multiple regression,68% of the temperaturegradientcould be explainedby 3
variables; air temperature,wind stressand wave orbital amplitude. Near the bed,
98% of the temperaturevariation over the 6-week measurementperiod could be
explained by temperaturesat a site to the west plus the longshore,cross-shoreand
vertical temperaturegradients. The vertical gradientwas the most important. Wind-
inducedstirring eliminatedthe thermoclineand causedthe bottom layer temperature
to rise sharplyas upper level water mixed with the lower layer.
The dynamicsof the coastalenvironmentand the changingmagnitudewith depth of
the various current components is considered. Wave refraction diagrams and
velocity profile measurementsare used to examine the interactionof the waves and
currents,including their joint effect on the developmentof bed roughnessand near-
bed shearstressduring storms.


Shelf sedimenttransportand hydrodynamicresearchhas progressedrapidly in the

last 30 years. The use of better measurementtechniques(Steinbergand Creager,
1965; Cachione and Drake, 1979), the collection of more data sets (Wiberg and
Smith, 1983; Amos et al., 1988) and improvedtheoreticaldevelopment(Grant and
Madsen, 1979) have resultedin a greater understandingof wave/currentinteraction
in natural environmentsand of the relationshipbetweensedimenttransportand local
hydrodynamics. Independentof the fine-scalestudies,wind-forcedmotion (Gordon,
1982), coastal-trappedwaves (Middleton and Viera, 1991) and geostrophicresponse
(Burrage et al., 1991) have been investigatedon many continentalshelvesaroundthe

With these developments,however, the need for detailed and comprehensivefield

measurements remains. In particular, measurements are needed to validate
wave/current interaction formulae in natural conditions and to allow for feedback due
to the responseof the sea bed in a non-steadyenvironment (Black and McShane,
1990). In natural conditions,adjustmentsof the sea bed may occur rapidly with
changingcurrent and wave conditions. The dependenceof vertical shearon vertical
eddy viscosity or bed shear stress can be a crucial balance which may help to
determinenet sedimenttransportat the bed and dispersalon the continentalshelf.
Typically, the most dynamicregion lies above the mud alepositionallimit at about 50
m (Smith and Hopkins, 1972). In this zone, the wave/currentinteractionbecomes
more important as the depth decreasesand the temporal responseof the sea bed
equally becomesmore dynamic.
We establishedtwo field measurementprograms, in winter and summer, to record
the horizontal and vertical circulationand sedimentdynamicsbetweenthe 20 and 50
m contoursof the continentalshelf in east Gippsland, in southernAustralia.
Black et al. 31

region is exposedto oceanwave attack and experiencesboth tidal and low frequency
currentsdue to winds, barometricpressureand coastal-trappedwaves. Sedimentsin
the east Gippslandregion are sandyand mobile above the 45 m contour. As such,
the measurementspresented in this paper are generally applicable to many open
coastlines worldwide.

A number of similar studieshave been undertaken(see the summary in Cachione

and Drake, 1990 for example). However, few studies have been able to record
currents both horizontally across the shelf and at various vertical levels above the
bed while simultaneously measuring suspended sediment concentration, and
sedimentmobility with underwatervideo, in conjunctionwith a regional bedform and
grain size survey. The measurementswere unified in a 3-dimensional numerical
hydrodynamic model which helped to specify the relationshipsbetween continental
shelf hydrodynamicsand the nature and scaleof bed sedimenttransport.
A simultaneousinvestigationof the biological characteristicsof the region (Parry et
al., 1990) provided the basis for a broad environmentalassessment and established
the foundation for linked studiesof continental shelf hydrodynamics,dispersal and
the ecology of the region.
Detailed descriptionsof the data from the physical field program are presentedin
Black et al. (1991a, b; 1992). The adaptation of numerical models of the
hydrodynamicsand dispersal are described by Black and Hatton (1992). In this
paper, we present the scope of the field study and examine the dynamics of the
continentalshell A numberof topics are consideredincluding the wave refraction,
bed friction and the link between bedform characterand depth acrossthe continental
shell This paper servesto summarisethe interestingfeaturesof the data sets. More
detailed studiesof particular aspectsof the data are being undertaken,and these will
form the basisof future publications.

StudyRegionand Field Site

The rectangular-shapedstudy region lies offshore of Ninety Mile Beach in East
Gippsland, Victoria, along 75 km of coastlinebetween Lakes Entrance in the west
and Pearl Point in the east, and extending 30 km offshore (Figure la). The
coastline,popularfor recreationaluse, consistsof fairly straightsandybeach, backed
by dunes, with the only major headland at Cape Conran in the east. Estuaries are
found within the region at Lake Tyers and also at Marlo where the Snowy River
flows into the sea. Immediately to the west is the entranceto the very large system
of estuarinewaterwaysknown collectively as the GippslandLakes (Figure la).
The continental shelf to the southwest widens at the entrance to Bass Strait, while to
the southeast,the continental slope drops abruptly towards the Tasman Abyssal
Plain. Within the study region, the bathymetry drops smoothly from the coast to a
broadplatformlying between40-55 m depth. This platformnarrowsto the east,with
steeperbathymetryfound to the southeastof the region. Near the measurementsites,
the depthcontoursare approximatelyshore
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

Figure l a. Field site locationin southernAustralia, showingdetails of bathymetrywithin the

studyregion, and in the surroundingregion of easternBass Strait.

Field Measurements

Tidal and Current Measurements

Three current meter and four tide gauge stationswere monitored during two 6-week
deploymentsin the winter of 1990 and the summer of 1991 (Figures la and lb).
These were denotedas the A and B seriesrespectively. The instrumentlayout was
designedto specify the (i) tidal behaviour (ii) sea level responseto coastal currents
(iii) cross-shelf gradient in current and (iv) the influence of wave action on the
circulation. Placed in intermediate water depths on the continental shelf, the
instruments measured tidal and coastal currents, wave orbital motion, sea levels,
temperaturesand conductivity. The last two specifiedthe salinity.
Tide gauges were deployed at the comers of the approximatelyrectangular study
region (Sites T1-T4) (Figure la). Up to 4 vector-averagingcurrent meters at
different elevations above the sea bed were placed at each of the 3 current meter
sites (C1-C3) in approximatedepths of 20, 40 and 50 m respectively(Figure lb).
One additional tide gauge was placed at Site C3 during the 1990 data collection
period, and an additional current meter was deployed in October 1990 within the
study region at Site C4 (Figure la). The winter and summerseriesare denotedin
the site name by a precedingA or B. The distanceof the meter abovethe sea bed is
included in the name after a "slash". Thus, measurements from Site C1, winter
series at 3 m above the bed are denoted as
Black et al.


A SEINES(•ggO) El SERIES (1991)
O. ' I '

•c3/4o -
,Ac1/lo Ac2/3o Ac3/4o
- ec1/1o
• ec2/3o
-20. _ , •c1/3 _

-40. _
, I , I , I , l, I , I , I , l, I CURRENT
O. 2. 4.. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14.. 16. 18. O. 2. 4.. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14.. 16. 18.

ø',•'/I' I / I' I' I' I ' ' I I

10.9 16.3 21.1
I • •11.8 /

I \ t 11'2
ca -40.

I 1• _
2. 4. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14.. 16. 18.
6o.I, I , I , I • I , I • I , I , I ,
O. 2. 4.. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14.. 16. 18.

23.8 15.3 16,3 -

14.1] 15.1
-20. 11.8 --

•, -20.

ca -40. -40
-• 5.7 _
-•o.I ' I ' I ' I • I ' I ' I ' I -6o
O. 2. 4. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14. 16. 18. O. 2. 4. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14. 16. 18.

7.96 8.43 6.76


ca -40. 10.62


60 , I , I , I , I , I , I , I , I , , I, I, I, I, I, I • I, I,
O. 2. 4. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14. 16. 18. O. 2. 4. 6. 8. 10. 12. 14. 16. 18.

Figurelb. Instrumentpositions,
(recordaverages),meanof the standard
deviationof thebursts,
meanwaveperiodduringtheA (winter)andB (summer)
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

Tides were recorded with Aanderaa WLR5 and one TG3A high-resolutiondigital
quartz pressuresensors. The current meters were vector-averagingNeil Brown
acoustic or S4 electromagnetic instruments, suitable for locations with surface

The instrumentswere mostly deployedin vertical mooringstrings(Figure lb). The

two offshoretide gaugeswere within 1.5 m of the bed on the mooring and buoyancy
was large to ensurerigidity and low tilt. The two tide gaugesnearestthe coastwere
placed in framesmountedon the bed.


Wave orbital motion was recorded with the S4 electromagneticcurrent meters

operatingin burst mode. Instantaneouscurrentsmeasuredat 0.5 secondintervals
were averagedover 2 secondperiodsduringmeasurement burstsof up to 9 mins, a
sufficient time to samplemost of the variability due to wave groupiness.The bursts
were at intervalsof up to 6 hours.
The current meter transect lies within a region of relatively subtle bathymetric
variability in the longshore direction. The effect of wave refraction on the
measurementswas small and relatively uniform in the longshore direction (see

In situSuspended
Suspendedsedimentconcentration and the sedimentthresholdwere monitoredin situ
during both the A and B deploymentsat Site C1 at 20 m depth. A self-contained
underwater unit (SEDCAM) was developed which housed a video camera for
observationsof bed mobility, and either one or two optical backscatterancesensors
(OBS, Downing, 1984) to measure suspendedsediment concentrations. These
instruments were suspendedon a frame above the sea bed to minimise the
interference to flow at bed level. Nearby current meters measuredboth the wave
orbital motion, and the lower frequency coastal and tidal currents. Internal timing
circuitry allowed the OBS sensorsand video camera to record in "bursts",over
deploymentperiodsof up to 6 weeks. The calibrationof the OBS sensorsis detailed
by Black et al. (1991b).

Surficial sedimentsampleswere collectedand analysedfrom 126 sitesin the study
region (Figures2a and 2b). To specifythe on/offshorevariationin grain size and the
nature of the sea bed, 23 of the sampleswere taken at closely spacedintervals along
the 13 km shore-normalcurrentmeter transectin depthsfrom 20 m to 50 m
Black et al. 35

2c and 2d). Sediment grain sizes, fall velocities and grain size distributions were
determinedusing settling tube analysisfor the sandsand gravels (George and Black,
1989, 1991). Mud contents(< 63 micron) were usuallymuch less than 5% by weight
throughoutthe region. As such, grain size analysesof the mud fractions were not

The nature of the sea bed and the size of bedforms (height and wavelength) were
obtainedfrom underwatervideo observationstaken throughoutthe region (Figures 3
and 4). The video was attachedto a metal frame lowered to the bed and output was
viewed on a ship-borne television receiver. Bedform profiles were observed on a
graduated scale board placed in the field of view. A computer frame grabber
providedhard copiesof the bedformprofilesfor analysis(Figure 4).

Figure 2a and b. Median grain sizes(mm) over the studyregion during two
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

S.] 37. S O.37 20 O.52

4.6 4• .3 0.2• •] 0.57
2.G ]G.O 0.0•4 25 0.62
4. ] 40.8 O.2] 26 O.G5
3.8 ]6. • 0.20 28 0.70
4. S ] •. 0 0. ]6 ]0 O.76
5.& 48.0
8.5 1;7.5 o.]1 ]6 0.81
5.1 62.5 O.21 38 o. 85
6.9 58.• 0.41 40 0.71

].0 9.5 0.47 45 O.2S

• .0 5.0 O. •0

• .0 5.0 O. •0 47 0.37
• F F 48 0.]4

• • • 4• 0.31

• • • 49 0.]3
F • F 4• O.Z9

F F F 50 0.29

F F F 50 0.28

F F ; 50 0.28

F F F 5; 0.]•

C1 - 08T1 -
•, 4.8
} ½cm}

08TZ - •, 3.8 36.7 0.20
08T3 - •, 3.4 38.4 0.15
OBT4 - -•, 1.3 32.5 O. 02•
08T5 - •, 3.2 40. I 0.13
08 T6 - ':•<-:ß F F F
08T7 - .• 8.3 i 00.0 0.34
0aT8 - .• 10.0 •00.0 0.45
OST• - • F F F
OST 10 - ':':-:-:
•' F F F
C2 - 08T•; - ':{':-:• F F F

Figure 2c and d. Bed type, bedform wavelengthand height, bottomroughnesslength, depth

and mediangrain size alongthe cross-shelftransectfrom Site C1 to C3. The two surveyswere
conductedon 10 June, 1990 and 11 February,
Black et al.


L•__• '•,ll ½.v.,oo.<3


j• J poo•'
ß 17aavel•pecI

. I IK•.3 ..__..iJ

OBT Tr•nsect 10.,'06,'90

Figure2c and d (Continued).Bed type,bedformwavelengthand height,bottomroughness

length,depthandmediangrainsize alongthe cross-shelf
transectfrom Site C1 to C3. The two
surveyswere conductedon 10 June,1990 and 11 February,1991.

F No Bedforms SCALE
o .
N R RecTa
I Ar-eo [ km J
A I SnowyRiver

/ %4,)r-/..•_----••'"., ,. •,, .

Figure3. Bedformwavelength(cm). The hatchedregionshowsthe bandof longerbedforms

between the 30 and 42 m
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

Figure 4. The sea bed at Site OBT3 in 25 m

Black et al. 39



Spatial variability in the wind was noted between the different stations. This was
examined by comparing observationsfrom the closest permanent anemometers at
Lakes Entrance,Wilson's Promontory,East Sale and Gabo Island (Figure 1). The
town of Lakes Entranceis locatedon a coastalplain backedby a 60 m high ridge so
that the anemometeris shelteredfrom northerlywinds. The Wilson'sPromontoryand
Gabo Island gauges are exposed, but distant, while the East Sale site is 30 km

Regressionanalysesshowed that the inland East Sale winds were slower than the
coastal stations (Table 1). Both the east/west and north/south winds at Lakes
Entrance were slower than the other two coastal stations. The coherence between
the stations was generally low (minimum correlation coefficient r = 0.38 and
maximum r = 0.74) (Table 1) but a good correlationbetweencurrentsand the Lakes
Entrance winds was obtained (see below).

TABLE 1. Regressionof Wilson's Promontory (WP), East Sale (ES) and Gabo Island (GI)
wind against Lakes Entrance wind (LE). The gradient (a), intercept (b) and correlation
coefficientof the best fit equationis given for each case. The east/west(E/W) and north/south
(N/S) componentswere treated separately.

Sites Dim a b r

WP-LE E/W 1.32 2.65 0.71

N/S 0.73 -1.12 0.38

ES-LE E/W 0.52 0.13 0.74

N/S 0.23 0.12 0.46

GI-LE E/W 0.88 0.63 0.60

N/S 0.85 -1.15 0.42


Record-duration mean current speeds(no considerationof direction) increased in

strengthwith offshore distanceat 10 m below the surface. Speedsnearer the bed,
however, were very similar at Sites C1 and C2 (Figure lb). Temporally, mean
speeds were very similar during the winter and summer deployments, being 0.11
ms-1 in bothdeploymentsat 10 m belowthesurface
at nearshore
SiteC1 and0.19-
0.21ms4 at offshore
siteC3 (Figure
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

A tidal constituent analysis of each sea level and velocity time series was
undertaken using the procedure of Foreman (1977). Residual (or non-tidal)
velocities were obtainedby subtractingthe tidal constituentsfrom the measureddata
series. Spring tidal range (M2+S2) was 0.95 m and the dominanttidal constituents
to generate
of about0.12 ms-1 at thenearshore
siteand0.18 ms-1
offshore. The amplitudeof the K1 diurnal componentwas approximatelyequal to the
M2. Maximum tidal currentsoccurredafter mid-tide and were directedlongshore.
Maximum residual currents were larger than the tidal currents being up to about
0.35 ms-1 (Figure5). Theresidualcurrents
to theeastmorethan90%
of the time at all levels and all sites. Current reversals were much more common in
summer (Figure 5), in responseto the greater number of winds from the east (see

Vector-averaged currents were calculated by averaging the orthogonal velocity

componentsover the record duration. With a finite number of cycles in the record
(Figure 5), some trend can result when the number of periodsresolvedis not exact.
This may result in a spuriouscomponentin the vector-averagedcurrentswhich may
be particularly evident when the current is small.




•A ................
-- _




"*'v IIIII I I II111 II


12/2 19/2 26/2 4/3 11/.5 18/.5

Figure 5. East/west(U) and north/south(V) componentsof the tidal and residualcurrentsat

Site BC2/7 during Februaryand March
Black et al.


VECTOR(era/s) El SERIES(lggl

AC1/10 BCl/3 •BC1/10

BCl/5 BC1/7

AC2 BC2 BC2/7



AC3/40 BC3/40

4..00 cm/s

Figure 6. Net vector-averaged

currentsover the measurement
periodsduringthe A md B series.

With more flow reversals in summer, the vector averagesof current velocity were
very different in summerand winter. Net excursionsat offshoreSite C3 were large
and directedeast during winter and west during summer. The cross-shelfvariability
was also seasonal. In winter, the residualat all sites was directedapproximatelyto
the east (longshore),while the net directionsvaried with depth and cross-shelf
position in summer (Figure 6). In summer,the net current direction rotated anti-
clockwise acrossthe shelf, from east at BC1 to west at BC3.

At Site BC2/3 the dominantdirectionwas to the north-west,while 4 m higherin the

water column at Site BC3/7 the net direction was to the north-east. The currents 10
m below the surface at BC2/30 were directed east-north-east while offshore the
currents were directed west-north-west. All of these vectors include significant

As no vertical current measurements were made, the following discussionrelies on
inferencesfrom the horizontalflow, assuminga volume continuityrequirementat the
coastalboundary. In addition,numericalmodel simulationsindicateddown-welling
(not shown),particularlyduringonshorewinds (Black and Hatton,
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

Very small rotations (less than 5ø) between the bed and the surface were evident
during winter (Figure 6). If the rotation is not an artefact of the averaging errors
noted above, it could be due to the greaterdeflection to the left of the faster flowing
surface layers under the prevailing westerly winds. The orientation of currents in
winter was similar at all levels and acrossthe shelf, indicating that the prevailing
easterly currents were in pseudo-geostrophic balance with a cross shelf sea gradient
spanningthe measurementtransect(see below).
In summer, net currentsvaried in strengthand orientation, while net circulation was
more strongly onshoreduring summer than during winter (Figure 6). In fact, the
residual at Site BC2 had a shoreward component at all measured levels. The
rotation with depth was variable at site BC1 and anti-clockwiseat BC2.
The measured variability in vertical current structure indicates that vertical shear
throughthe depth may be difficult to quantify. Near a natural coastline,an empirical
specificationof the velocity profile is not readily available,particularlyas the profile
is a functionof offshoredistance0VIofjeld,1988). One implicationof the importance
of 3-dimensional structure on the Gippsland shelf was noted by Black and Hatton
(1992) who showedthat the dispersalpatternspredictedby 2-dimensionalnumerical
simulationswere very different to those from the 3-dimensionalversion of the same
numerical model. The latter model spreadthe material over a far wider region across
the shelf.


A zero down-crossinganalysis furnished wave periods and orbital velocities on a

wave-by-wavebasisover each 9 minute measurementburst. The standarddeviation
of the velocities during each burst provided an additional estimate of wave orbital
motion. The principal componentof the wave direction was obtained by fitting a
linear curve to the scatter plot at east/west (U) and north/south (V) velocity
components. The gradientindicatedwave direction. A third-orderpolynomial curve
fit (to interpolatethe data along the principal direction) was applied to find the zero
crossingsand correspondingwave periods.
The wave energy is depictedby the standarddeviation of the measurementbursts at
the level of each instrument. The bursts were 1 or 2 minutes in the winter (A series)
and 9 minutesin summer. Thus, the uncertaintyin estimatesof orbital motion due to
wave groupinessmay be fairly large in the winter series. To examine the cross-shelf
transformationin wave height, a wave recordingcurrentmeter was establishedat 10
m below the surface at each of the 3 current mooring locations C1, C2 and C3
(Figure 1).
The standarddeviation of the measurementsincreasestowards shoredue to shoaling
(Figure lb). In the vertical, the period increasestowardsthe bed due to the greater
attenuationof high frequency componentsof the spectrumwith distancebelow the
surface(Figure lb). As such,the period at the bed is largerat Site C2 in 40 m depth
than at Site Cl in 20 m depth (Figure lb). This result has importantimplications
Black et al. 43

the size of bedforms across the shelf (see below). There appears to be a small
increasein period from C3 to C1 (towardsshore)at the commonlevel of 10 m below
the surface (Figure lb), although the result is probably not statistically significant.
This may be associatedwith a greaterincreasein the amplitudeof the low frequency
componentsas the waves shoal.
The numericalwave shoalingand refractionmodel of Black and Rosenberg(1992)
was applied to examine wave refraction along the measurementtransect. A number
of different offshorewave angleswere chosenin accordancewith the variation in the
field measurements. A 15 s period was treated which was representativeof the
longest observedwaves.
Common wave directions for the region were from the south-south-west(towards
30øT) and south-south-east
(towards330øT). Figure 7 showsthe refractionresultsat
these angles. A small amount of shoaling and refraction occurs. At 330øT, the
heightincreasesby 12% and the anglechangesby 3ø (Figure7). At 30øT, the height
variesby 3% and the angleby 14ø. Applyingthesepredictedheightincreasesusing
linear theory, the expected orbital velocities at 10 m below the surface at Site C1
are 1.64 and 1.50 times the offshore value at C3. This coincides with measured ratios
of the averagewave standarddeviations(Figure lb) of 1.50 and 1.46 for the A and B
seriesrespectively. Frictional dissipationwould accountfor the discrepancy.

X GRID AXIS (18 km) X GRID AXIS (18 km)

(øgreet} d) • CONTOURS
(øgr•) x

•.• C!

X GRID AXIS (18 kin) X GRID AXIS (18 kin)

Figure 7. Refractiondiagramsshowingthe wave heightand anglecontoursfor wavesof 15 s

periodand I m height(a) headingtowards333øT and(b) towards
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

Local WindForcingof Currentsand Coastal-trapped


Middleton and Viera (1991) have demonstratedthat the sourceof low frequency(3-
14 day) currentsin this region is winds within Bass Strait and coastal-trappedwaves
incident from the Great Australian Bight. Using numerical techniques,Middleton
and Black (1994) found that coastal-trappedwaves dominate the low frequency
energy at the western entranceto Bass Strait, but the relative importanceof local
winds increasesto the east. Local winds and coastal-trappedwaves were shown to
typically generatecurrentson the east Gippsland shelf with approximatelyequal
magnitude. Black et al. (1993) identifieda similar partitionin the responseof sea
levels recorded at a Victorian coastal site in central Bass Strait. Thus, we can
expect correlation analyses to local wind to explain approximately 50% of the
variancein the low frequencycurrents.
Jones (1980) found that wind and current were correlated with r = 0.49 at a site
offshoreof our transect. We found a higher correlationbetween wind and longshore
currentsat all levels and sites,but a poor correlationto cross-shorecurrents. Thus,

U = aWx+ bWy+c

V = dWx+ eWy+f

where U and V are the longshoreand cross-shorecurrentvelocitiesrespectively,Wx

andWy arethecomponents of windvelocityalong80øTand350øTrespectively and
coefficients.Thegoodnessof fit is givenby r2. A wind
"stress"(with a unit drag coefficien0 was testedin one case,i.e.,

Wxstrv- Wx IWl

Wystr-Wy IWl

Currents at BC1/7 (at 7m above the bed), BC2/7 (at 7m) and BC3/40 (at 40 m) in
20, 40 and 50 m depth respectivelywere analysed.
The lag between currentand wind was obtainedfrom the crosscorrelationin the time
domain of the dominant,most correlatedvariables,i.e. longshorewind and longshore
current. The currentslaggedthe local Lakes Entrancewinds by 3 hours(Table 2).
Linear regressionshowedthat up to 64% of the variance in the residual longshore
current was attributable to the measured wind. The on/offshore component was
poorly correlatedwith wind in every case.
The more distantWilson's Promontorymeasurementsgenerallypredictedthe currents
better than the local Lakes Entrance wind. The worst correlation was obtained with
records from Gabo Island, located to the east of the field site. Thus, the relevant
wind forcing evidentlyoccursto the west of the site within Bass
Black et al. 45

TABLE 2. Wind and currentregressionanalysis. Resultsof a regressionto the equation,(U,V)

= aWx + bWy +c whereU andV are the longshoreandcross-shore
Wx andWy are the componentsof windvelocityalong80øTand 350øT
respectively, a,b,c are regressioncoefficients. For the cases marked *, the wind stress
componentwasusedwhereWxstr= Wx IWIandWyst
r = Wy IWI. Thegoodnessof fit is given
byr2. Threewindrecords
Promontory (WP),GaboIsland(GI) and
Lakes Entrance (LE). The lag is the time (hours) time that the current lags the wind. The
currentaxes were rotatedby 1, 5 and 28ø anti-clockwiseat Sites C1, C2 and C3 respectively
onto the principal residual currentaxis.

WP a b c r2 lag
BC1/7 U 0.87 -0.10 3.21 0.53 6
V -0.04 0.09 0.89 0.04
BC2/7 U 0.89 -0.02 0.40 0.63 6
V 0.07 0.07 1.56 0.03
BC2/7 U* 0.055 0.003 0.810 0.64 6
V* 0.005 -0.005 1.597 0.03
BC3/40 U 1.45 0.32 -2.05 0.50 9
V -0.02 -0.13 1.61 0.00

a b c r2 lag
BC1/7 U 1.07 -0.70 4.23 0.35 0
V 0.01 0.06 0.82 0.02
BC2/7 U 1.16 -0.72 1.38 0.46 0
V 0.07 -0.08 1.65 0.01
BC3/40 U 1.90 -0.80 -0.34 0.37 -3
V -0.72 0.17 1.64 0.00

a b c r2 lag
BC1/7 U 1.57 0.30 4.82 0.49 3
V -0.05 0.02 0.65 0.01
BC2/7 U 1.58 0.07 2.42 0.53 3
V 0.18 -0.18 1.85 0.07
BC3/40 U 2.64 0.71 -1_50 0.41 3
V 0.25 -0.67 3.07 0.04

The currentsin the longshoredirectionwere from 0.87% to 2.64% of the wind speed,
dependingon the wind chosenand the vertical position of the current meter. The
currentsat Site BC2/7 were 1.58% of the local winds,but only 0.89% of the stronger
winds at Wilson'sPromontory.
The variability between wind stationssuggeststhat none of the wind records will be
individually fully representativeof the wind blowing over water at all locationsin
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

region. Quite possibly,more of the velocity varianceis attributableto wind, but the
wind measurementsat the sites consideredare not able to adequatelyrepresentthe
combinationof actual conditionsover the region and the more remote wind forcing
within Bass Strait.

Site C2 in 40 m depth was the most highly correlatedwith wind while the offshore
and inshore sites showed less correlation. At the shallowest site, the reduced
correlationmay be explained by increasedland effects on the wind, wave/current
interactionin the bed friction term or the presenceof more energy nearshoredue to
remote coastal-trappedwaves. The results offshore are strictly not comparable
becausetime seriesmeasurednear (or within) the upper boundary layer had to be
used for the regression(Site BC3/40), comparedwith the deeper deploymentsused
for the inshore analyses. Surface boundary effects will be more pronouncedat
BC3/40 located 10 m below the surface.

A wind measurement,although locally accurate,may not be a reliable indicator of

currents. For example, Hsu (1986) suggesteda simple dimensionalrelation between
the wind velocity over the sea and over land,

Wsea- 1.62 + 1.17Wland (3)

When calibrating the numerical model of the region, we found that the Lakes
Entrance wind had to be multiplied by 1.07 for the model to match the measured
currents. However, this factor is dependenton the selectedbed roughnessbecause
the dominantbalancein the momentumequationis betweenbed roughnessand wind
stressonce a pseudo-steadystate is reached. In an open coast environmentwhere
roughness varies spatially and temporally and the roughness depends on the
wave/current interaction, the best which can be achieved is to determine the
appropriatefactor for the wind, given a roughnesscondition. The solution is not
uniqueif there are uncertaintiesin the bed roughnessestimate.

With a factor of 1.07 applied to the regressioncoefficientsin Table 2, the longshore

currentsat Sites BC1 and BC2 (at 0.35d and 0.18d respectivelyfor water depth d)
were 1.7% of the longshoreLakes Entrance wind speed. This result is in general
agreement with the commonly-adoptedassumptionthat the vertically-averaged
currentis about 2% of the wind speed. The lower value at our sitesmay be related
to a local large bed frictional resistance(see below). Higher in the water column at
Site BC3, the longshorecurrent at 10 m below the surfacewas 2.8% of the wind

A better correlation to wind may also be obtained if the inertia in the currents is
considered. However, the lag betweenwind and current was short (about 3 hours)
and the currentsdecayed quickly after the wind diminished. Black and McShane
(1990) found at a nearby site in 20 m depththat this rapid decay was associatedwith
high friction due to the presenceof
Black et al.






2/2 19/2 26/2 5/3 12/.] 19/.] 26/3


Figure 8. Comparisonof the Coriolis and cross-shelfgradientterms in the geostrophicbalance

(see text).

Notably, the prediction using the wind stressrather than the wind velocity estimated
the flow velocity peaksbetter (not shown),althoughthe correlationfor the two cases
wassimilar(r2= 0.63and0.64,Table2).


The cross-shelf sea gradient was highly correlated with the longshore residual
currentsand the two were evidently in geostrophicbalance. The Coriolis and cross-
shelfseagradienttermsin the momentumbalance,fV and g 3(/3y, are comparedin
Figure 8. V is the residualvelocity at Site BC3/40 and the sea level gradient was
calculatedbetween nearshoreand offshoretide gauge stationsBT4 and BT3. The
other terms are the Coriolis parameterf, gravitationalaccelerationg and sea level (.
Consideringthat no allowancehas been made for vertical or horizontal variations in
velocity (including longshoredifferencesin responseto the changingwidth of the
shelf), the correlationis very good.


The temperaturestructureon the shelf was very different in the winter and summer
seasons,the latter being characterisedby more rapid temperaturechangesand a
greater variability in vertical structure.

To depict spatialvariability, temperaturesat the 4 widely-spacedtide gaugestations

(T1 to T4) are presentedin Figure 9. The linear trendin both winter and summeris a
seasonalresponse.Differentialheatingas a functionof depthcausestemperatures to
be colder near the coastthan offshoreduring winter, and hotter during summer. The
winter temperaturesare characterisedby small variations (both inshore and offshore)
with 1-3 day periods (Figure 9a). However, large oscillationsexceeding4øC
occurringin lessthan 24 hourstypify the summerrecords(Figure
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics


(a) I ,,,,,, I ,,,,,
oAT1 / • AT2 -I



lOOi i i i I • I ! i i I i i I i i i i i I i i i i i i i i i i i i I i i i!
1/6 8/6 15/6 22/6 29/6 6/7



<b) I I I I I oEIT1
- • -- ß BT3 /
190 x BT4



2/2 19/2 26/2 5/3 12/3 19/3 26/3


AT 8C2/3, BC2/7AND8C2/30
(c) r"'"'l"",,I,,,,,,i,,,,,,[
o BC2/3 _
a 8C2/7
_ ß 8C2/30_


2/2 19/2 26/2 5/3 12/3 19/3 26/3


Figure 9. (a) Temperaturesmeasurednear the sea bed at Sites T1 to T4 during the winter
deployment. (b) Temperaturesmeasurednear the seabed at SitesT1 to T4 duringthe sununer
deployment(c) Vertical temperaturestructureat Site BC2 during the sununerdeployment.

The vertical variation of temperature at Site BC2 shows a well-mixed layer

extendingmore than 7 m from the bed (Figure 9c). The upper levels were
Black etal. 49

warmer by up to 4øC, although a thermocline was not a permanent feature.

Vertically well mixed conditions recurred about every 10 days, suggesting a
correlationwith the weatherwhich has most energy at 10-14 day periods.
Regressionanalyseswere undertakento isolate the processesresponsiblefor (i)
temperature variations at Site BC2/3 and (ii) the factors determining vertical
temperaturedifferencesover the 27 m of water columnbetweenBC2/30 and BC2/3.
In the first case, nearby temperaturesand temperaturegradientswere employed as
independentvariables and therefore served to identify the relative importance of
horizontal advection (both longshore and on/offshore) and vertical advection or
mixing. The second used physical input variables only, i.e. wind stress, air
temperatureand wave conditions. This regressiontherefore shows the physical
processesresponsiblefor creating and dissipatingvertical temperaturestratification
on the continentalshell A completeheat budget was consideredbut no improved
predictionover the regressionanalysiswas achieved.

FactorsWhichAccountfor Near-bedTemperatureChanges

Table 3a gives the regressioncoefficientsfor the prediction of temperatureat Site

BC2/3 (T23). Up to 97% of the variance in the measuredtemperaturescan be
predictedknowing the temperature(T1)at site BT1 to the west (which accountsfor
44% of thevariance),
sites BT4 and BT1 (which accountsfor 42%), the cross-shoretemperaturegradient
(Tcross)between sites BT2 and BT1 (which accounts for 5%) and the vertical
65%). Thus, the variation in temperature is primarily accounted for by vertical
mixing and longshore horizontal advection. Cross shelf advection is relatively
unimportant. Thus, in accordancewith the currentobservations,cross-shelftransport
(relatedto upwellingand downwelling)plays a minor role comparedto the longshore
advection. The final regressionequation(Figure 10a; Table 3a) was,

T23 = 0.73T1+ 13204Tlong-17910Tcross

- 19.38Tup+ 6.52 (4)

s andTupare temperature
dividedby the
distance between measurementsites). A zero lag was applied to all variables,
primarily becausethe advection commenceseverywhere almost simultaneously,in
responseto the wind and other forcing, at the spatial scales(maximum 70 km) being

To confirm the results, a simple horizontal advection model was developed which
used the measured currents from the transect and measured horizontal temperature
gradientsfrom the tide stationsto predict the changingtemperaturesrecorded along
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

22.0I(a)I I I I I I I
I I I I i I I



12/2 19/2 26/2




2/2 19/2 26/2 5/3 12/3 19/3

Figure10. (a) Predictedand measuredtemperatureat Site BC2/3. (b) Predictedand

BC2/30at 30 m abovethebedandBC2/3 at 2.7 m
above the bed in 40 m depth.

Horizontal advectionalone was unable to explain the sharp temperaturechanges

over shorttime periods.
The largehorizontalgradients in the near-bedtemperaturesappearto be primarily
relatedto localwaterdepth. Waterdepthswere 15, 19, 54 and 110 m at SitesBT1,
BT4, BT2 and BT3 respectively, which coincides with the ranking of mean
temperatures at the sites(Figure9). Satellitesea-surface
commonlyshowintrusionfrom the eastof hotterwatercomingfrom a southbound
current on the east Australian coast (Edwards, 1990). In this case, temperatures
decreaseto the west. Our data, however, shows the oppositepattern with hottest
bottom water at the westernend of the region in summer. The above analyses
indicatethat local thermalheatingand betterstirringin shallowerdepthsis a likely
fromtheeast)for the largealongshore
Black et al. 51

TABLE 3A. Regressionof temperatureat Site BC2/3 againstthe temperatureat BT! and the
horizontal and vertical temperaturegradients.

Case T1 Tlone Tcross Tup Constant R2

1 1.065 - - - -3.12 0.44

2 0.812 37918 - - 2.50 0.65

3 0.867 34716 -13848 - 2.76 0.70

4 0.735 13204 -17910 -19.46 6.52 0.97

5 1.110 - -18799 - -2.13 0.53

6 0.749 - - -21.54 4.34 0.85

7 .... 25.96 18.62 0.65

8 - 50697 - - 17.94 0.42

9 - - -14521 - 18.14 0.05

with VerticalTemperature

The factors determining the vertical temperaturedifference between BC2/30 and

BC2/3 (Tdif) are now considered.In this case,68% of the variancein Tdif could be
predictedknowing environmentalfactors alone (Figure 9b). The air temperatureat
east Sale (Tsale)accountedfor 55% of the variance(Table 3b). (Unfortunatelythese
temperatureswere recorded over land but were the nearest available measurements.)
TheU andV windstress(UstrandVstr)togetheraccounted
for 37% of the variance,
while orbital motion (SDv) as determinedby the on/offshorestandarddeviation of
the measurement bursts accounted for 11%. The wind stresses were calculated with
the formula of Wu (1982) for the drag coefficient.
Thus, much of the temperature stratification can be predicted from the air
temperaturealone. Wind is the next most important variable, while waves have
little impact. However, wind and waves are correlated. (Of course,coefficientsfrom
multiple regressionsare lessreliable when processesare correlated.)
The air temperatureplays two roles. First, the stratification forms when the air
temperature exceeds water temperature and is reduced when surface waters are
cooled by lower air temperatures. Second,low temperaturewill be correlatedwith
storm events which means that temperaturemay be a surrogatefor storm-induced
mixing. The final regressionequation(Figure 10b; Table 3b) was,

T• = 0.21 Tsale-0.61 Ustr- 1.11 Vstr -0.15 SDv-1.62 (5)

Lags applied are given in Table 3b. Notably, the factor which establishesthe
stratification(Tsale)has a positiveregressioncoefficient,while the mixing factors
have negative
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

TABLE 3B. Regressionof verticaltemperaturedifferencebetweenBC2/30 andBC2/3 and the

physicalforcing factors.

Case AirtempatEast Ustr Vstr SDv Constant R2


1 0.259 .... 2.53 0.56

2 - -0.657 -2.354 - 2.08 0.37
3 .... 10.77 3.28 0.11
4 0.211 -0.608 -1.105 -0.149 -1.62 0.68

Lag (hrs) 10 20 16 12

We have chosento include physical environmentalfactors only in the regression.

The above analysis suggeststhat other factors such as horizontal advection are
important also. However, 68% of the variancecan be predictedfrom the physical
forcing alone without considerationof the wider spatial structure. Major terrestrial
floodingoccurredjust prior to the A seriesdeploymentsandresultedin lower salinity
and conductivity at nearshoresites. No similar major events occurredduring the
period used for the above regressionanalysis,althoughrainfall over the catchment
and river inputsmay have been a useful additionalvariable.

A wide variability in bed type was observedwith bedforms and mobile sediment
typically occurringin depthsless than about40 m (Figures2 and 3). Bed sediments
were dominantly well sorted medium to coarse shelly sands, with an overall
tendencyfor an offshoreincreasein colonisationby marine growth (Figures 2a and
2b). The coarsestsedimentsextendedin a distinctivelongshoreband betweenthe
30-42 m contours. Where a mud fractionwas present,it was typically lessthan 5%
by weight (Georgeand Black, 1989, 1991). Areas of rocky reef also occur. At -20
m water depth on the current meter transect,the bed was composedof clean sand
with a mediangrain size of 0.52 mm (Figure2c).
Most of the bedforms were symmetrical wave generatedripples. Sharp crested
braidedbedformswere observedin 20 m water depth, with typical wavelengthsand
wave heights of 40 cm and 4 cm respectively. Larger parallel bedforms (with
wavelengthsand heights of up to 120 and 11 cm respectively) were observedin
deeperwater to a depth of -43 m, at which point well defined parallel bedforms
Thus, the two major featuresof the bedformpatternswere a distinctboundaryaround
42-45 m where bedformsno longer occurred,and the presenceof a band of higher
and longer bedformsin a distendedshore-parallelband of coarsersedimentbetween
the 30-42 m
Black et al. 53

The 42-45 m limit clearly coincideswith a continentalshelf mud depositionallimit

discussedby Jones and Davies (1983) (among others). The limit is the depth at
which the wave orbital velocities during storms no longer exceed the sediment
threshold. Notably, the locationof the limit was at about42 m duringthe first survey
of the cross-shelftransect, but had moved shorewardduring the second survey
(Figures2c and 2d) whenno bedformswere observedat depthsbelow about36 m.
The second observation, that bedform wavelength is a maximum offshore, is
evidently a result of differential attenuation of the surface wave spectrum with
distancebelow the surface. The elimination of high frequencycomponentscauses
near-bedwave periodsto be largestoffshore,and longerbedformsresult. Althougha
mechanismis not obvious becausethe wave energy at the bed is much less at Site
C2 than inshoreat Site C1 (Figure lb), the coarsergrain size may also be associated
with the same processof high frequencyattenuation. The grain size measurements
suggestthat winnowinghas occurredbetweenthe 30 and 42 m contours.
Onshorecross-shelftransportassociatedwith the tidal and other currentsappearsto
be more pronouncedat Site C2 than Site C1 (Figure 6) and mean currentspeedsare
also greater (Figure lb). In addition, the depth filtering of the spectrumeliminates
the high frequency(local storm) sea,leaving the lower frequencycomponentswhich
must be shoaling. This spectrumis similar to the swell condition associatedwith
onshoretransportof sedimenton beaches. Currents are faster under the creststhan
the troughsof shoaling swell waves, and a net onshoresedimenttransportshould
result. Becauseof the attenuationof the wave energywith depth, the fine sediments
should be preferentially winnowed and carried shorewardby this process. While
these processescould explain the grain size changes,other factors such as Stoke's
drift and phaselags betweensedimentsuspensionand wave orbital motion are likely
to be important.

VerticalVelocityProfile andBedRoughness
The velocityprofile in the bottomboundaryis normallyassumedto be logarithmic,
U = 5.75 U, log10(Z/Zo) (6)

where U is velocity at z (m) above the bed, U. the friction velocity and Zo the
roughnesslength. U. and Zo can be obtainedfrom a measuredvelocity profile using
linear regressionto fit to eqn (6). However, some difficulties related to (i) small
timing differences between the instruments (ii) possible errors in the instrument
elevation due to uncertaintyin the exact orientationof the mooring weights when
dropped to the sea bed (iii) vertical temperaturestratification which, if present,
causesthe profile gradientto be no longer solely relatedto bed roughness.
We considered the profiles from BC1 (levels BC1/3, BC1/10) and BC2 (levels
BC2/3, BC2/5 and BC2/7). Temperaturestratificationwithin the bottom 10 m of the
water column was minimal (see above) and found not to be correlated with Zo
predicted from the profile. However, Zo was highly correlated with
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics



0.00 i I i I ill

1.50 I I I I I JI I I I I i JI I I


o.oo i

o.oo ,,,,,I,,,,,,I,,,,,,I,,,,,,I,,,,,,

0.1 -



12/2 19/2 26/2 5/3 12/3 19/3


Figure 11. Logarithmic profile regressionanalysisto find the friction velocity (U,), roughness
length (Zo) and correlation coefficient (r). The current speed (SPD) at 4.7 m above the bed
and the standarddeviation of the measurementbursts (SD) are also shown. All variables were
running mean averagedover 48 hours and the daily values were treated.

temperaturegradient when the measurementsfrom BC2/30 were included in the

regressionat Site BC2. BC2/30 was typically above the thermocline. Thus, the
bottom three meters only were used.

The timing errors made it difficult to ensurethat the profiles were instantaneous.In
addition, scatter around the logarithmic profile occurred due to the unsteady
conditions. Thus to considerthe generalresponseof the profile to the bed roughness,
we averagedmeasuredspeedsat each level over 48-hoursand treatedvalues at daily
intervals. This gave a view of the averagedcurrentand the lower frequencyresponse
of the bottom boundary layer to changing weather and bed conditions. The
correlationto the logarithmicprofile was found to increaseas the averagingperiod
Black et al. 55

To examinethe error resultingfrom a poor estimateof the instrumentelevations,we

fitted the data to eqn (6) with the most likely and the extremesof the possible

In 20 m depthat BC1, the predictedfrictionvelocitieswere about0.02 ms-1 and

roughnesslengthswere about0.5 m (Figure 11). The median of the caseswhere the
regressiongave a positivegradientand whenthe 48-houraveragedcurrentspeedat 5
m abovethebedexceeded
0.1 ms-1 wasZorn= 0.40m. Thisis a veryhighvalue.
However, Zo remained high even when the instrumentswere assumedto be 0.5 m
lower than expected. Moreover, the temperaturestratificationand Zo showedno
significant correlation. Thus, although very large, these values appear to be
representativeof the site. In 40 m depthat Be2, Zowas smallerbut high valuesstill
occurred. The median (as above) was Zorn= 0.067 m.
Thereremainsa degreeof uncertaintyas only 2 or 3 levelswere sampled.However,
while the inshorevaluesappearto be large and a numberof possibleerrorsexist, the
high value may be justified. At a similar site in 20 m depth in easternVictoria,
Black and McShane(1990) demonstrated that the roughnesslengthin a wave/current
environmentmay be up to 300 ames the value obtained from the bedforms alone
using the simple formula,

Zo= H2/2L (7)

where H is the bedform height and L the length. The result was subsequently
confirmedby Simonset al. (1989) who examineda variety of wave/currentfriction
formulaeand equally concludedthat high roughnesslengthsare predictedby the
wave/currenttheoriesand were evidentlypresentin naturalconditions.
At Site BC1 usingeqn (7), the measuredbedformsindicateZo= 0.002-0.003m. A
factorof 300 appliedto thesevaluesgivesZo= 0.6-0.9 m, whichis at the upperlimit
of the valuesindependentlyobtainedfrom the velocityprofiles.

Field measurementswere made to simultaneouslyrecord the currents,sea levels,
bed mobility, suspendedload and to characterisethe sea bed on an exposed
continentalshelf. Data were recordedduring both summerand winter and large
differences between the two sets of records were noted.

The processesoperatingin the region can be suaun•sed as follows. Tidal currents

of 0.1-0.2ms-1 weredirected
respondedto seasonalfluctuations in wind. Currents in winter were directed east for
most of the measurement period, while reversals were common in summer.
Temperaturestratificationboth horizontallyand vertically was much more common
in stmuner. Bottom temperatures couldbe explainedprimarily by vertical mixing
acrossthe thermoclineand longshoretemperaturegradients. Vertical temperature
differenceswere explainedby air temperaturevariationsand wind stress. Cross
Measurementof the Wave, Current and Sea Level Dynamics

advection(and upwellingand downwelling)was secondaryto longshoreadvection,

as indicatedby the currentmeasurements
and the temperaturestructureon the shelf.
Larger bedforms in a distendedshore-parallelband of coarser sedimentswas
identified between the 30-42 m contours. The offshore limit coincided with a mud
depositionallimit where wave motionis too weak to move sedimentsat thesedepths.
Wave orbital measurementsindicated that depth filtering of the high frequency
componentsof the spectrummay explain the presenceof the longer bedformsat
depthsgreaterthan 30 m. The observedcoatsetsedimentswithin the bandmay be a
result of the shoalingof theselow frequencycomponents.The fines may have been
carried shoreward due to the faster currentsunder the crest than under the trough of
shoalingswell, althoughother factorsalsoneed to be considered.
Large roughness lengthsof 0.4 m and 0.067 m in 20 m and 40 m depthrespectively
were obtainedfrom the velocity profiles. These valuesare in agreementwith results
obtainedfrom earlier studiesusingmeasurements from 20 m depthoff the Gippsland

Acknowledgment. This work was fundedby the EnvironmentProtectionAuthority

(Victoria), and the Australian Research Council. Our thanks to the crew of the
"Sarda" (Marine Science Laboratories)and the "Bianca" (Lakes Entrance) for field
support,and to the Lakes EntranceFishing Co-operative. Thanks also to David
Hatton for assistancewith data preparation.


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Strait and adjacent beaches. Report prepared for Marine Science Laboratories by the
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The LagrangianBarycentricMethod to
Compute2D and 3D Long Term
Dispersionin Tidal Environments
J. C. Salomon, P. Garreau and M. Breton


In macro-tidal coastal seas, long term movement of water and conservationtracers,

cannotbe describedusing Eulerian residual currents. Although Lagrangianresidual
velocities have proven difficult to use as they are perceived to be time dependent,
they must be introduced. A methodis presentedfor elaboratingLagrangianresidual
current fields which eliminates this time dependencywithout any smoothingeffect.
The small spatial structuresare well defined and direct calculation of long term
transportand dispersioncan be made without introducingany parasitediffusion. The
method has been generalizedto real tides, variable wind fields and the three spatial
dimensions.This was appliedto the EnglishChannel.


In some marine environments with very strong tides, such as the Northwestern
European continental shelf, meso-scalecurrents are dominant and suppressother
componentswith different time scales. Amongstthese,the synopticor macro-scale
componentsare particularly difficult to measurebecausethey are often one or two
orders of magnitude less than the former and are highly dependent on weather
conditions. However, they are of considerableinterest,being responsiblefor the slow
movement of all dissolved substances,micro-organismsor eggs and larvae, which
are sweptalongand dispersedover hundredsor thousandsof kilometres.

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages59-76
Copyright1996by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion

Over the past few years,with the increasinginterestshownfor questionsconcerning

the environment and zoning, coastal physical oceanographyhas focused on this
point. FollowingLonguetHiggins's(1969) introductionof the idea of masstransport
velocity, showingthat this was the sumof the Eulerianresidualcurrentand Stoke's
drift, variousimportantstudieshave confirmedthat water massdisplacementcan not
be understoodpurely from the Eulerian concept. The Lagrangianconceptof long
term particletrajectoriesand residualcurrenthad to be introduced.This was doneby
Zimmerman (1979) and many authors then tried to determine its mathematical
relation with Eulerian residualcurrents,suchas Cheng et al. (1986) and Feng (1987
and 1990). They demonstrated the existence of a third current component,
Lagrangiandrift, which dependson the momentof particles'departure.
These fundamental mathematicaldevelopmentsare based on a hypothesisof slight
non-linearityof physical systems. In the oppositecase,numerical solutionsto this
problem were sought:Orbi and Salomon(1988), Salomonet al. (1988 and 1991),
Foreman et al. (1991).

When currentsand their spatialgradientsare particularlyintense,for example,in the

English Channel'scase,the non unicity of Lagrangianresidualcurrents,even for an
entirely periodic tide, createsproblemsfor its use. Therefore,the authorshave tried
to resolve this difficulty by introducing a new spatial reference: the barycentric
system, enabling a single current field to be obtained without averaging the
This method, which had been only partially explained in two-dimensional space
(Orbi and Salomon, 1988; Salomon et al., 1988 and 1991) is extendedhere to three-
dimensional space.


Instantaneous Currents Model

Let us considera numericaltidal currentmodel solvingthe Navier Stokesequations

in the three-dimensional, non-linear form, or a two-dimensional model solving the
sameequationsintegratedon the vertical (called Saint-Venant'sequations).
The choice of a numerical method is of little importance, however, because the
model should then be used to calculate trajectories of imaginary particles, the
meshesmust be small enoughto enable accuratecomputationsof trajectoriesand of
their residualcomponentswhich are often one or two ordersof magnitudelower than
the tidal excursion,L. This requirementis general to all numerical methodswhich
approximate derivatives by differences (or integrals by sums), for which a
characteristic length scale should preferably be described by about 10 points
(Vreugdenhil and Voogt, 1975). Here, after some tests it was concludedthat 6
discretizationintervals were an acceptablelower limit to obtain a correct evaluation
of the residual
Salomon et al. 61

The mesh size can then be easily defined. Let u be the current velocity, assumedto
be sinusoid,of angular velocity to'

u = Uosin (tot- (p)


hence Ax< uø

For a semi-diurnaltide, comesAx 5 2 000 Uoas averagetidal velocities are of the

orderof 1 ms-1, the tidal modelmeshsizemustbe about1 to 2 km, to avoidthe risk
of incorrect calculation of the residual componentnear coastsand reliefs.

It was also observed that a regular spatial mesh, while not absolutely necessary
(Foremanet al., 1991), made calculationof trajectorieseasier.

Confronted with the spectrumof sea movements,this sort of model has a cut-off
frequencywhich dependson the numericalschemequality but correspondsto a wave
length0%) of aboutthreetimesthe meshsize.

Accordingto the Lain et al. (1984) relation,this cut-off wave lengthcorresponds

to a
grid dispersioncoefficient(Ka) on the orderof:

KG= 5 10-4•c1'2 (in m.k.s.units)

i.e. KG= 18.710-4Ax1'2

or again KG -- 7 m2 S-1 if Ax = 1 km

-- 17 m2 S-1 if Ax = 2 km

-- 28 m2 S-1 if Ax = 3 km

By using a model whose mesh and numerical diffusion coefficient comply with the
relations above, the advective structureswhose size is greater than 3Ax may be
correctly described,and smaller gyres expressedas dispersion.

Therefore, the objective is to determine a residual current field to directly describe

long term movementswithout modifyingthe cut-off frequencyof the tidal
Lagrangian Barycentric Method


Let us first consider the currents generatedby a periodic tide (not necessarily
sinusoidal)of period T, a wind field that can be spatiallyvariable, yet constantover
time, and no density gradient.
From any given initial situation,the model is activateduntil a stationarysituationis
reached, and is then used to calculate trajectories over the following two tidal
For various particles, each relating to a point of departure(Xo) and a moment of
departure (to), numerical calculation of Lagrangian residual velocity is made,
defined as follows:

•rrl(xo,to)= •rrl(a)= I •r(a,t)dt

This operationis repeatedfor a large number of points spreadover the entire field,
for instancewithin each mesh and for severalmomentsof departure(to) spacedout
over the next-to-last tidal cycle mentionedabove.
Both theory (Cheng et al., 1986) and numericalexperience(Orbi and Salomon,1988;
Foreman et al., 1991) demonstratethat, for each departurepoint (Xo) a seriesof
differentvaluesof Vrl(Xo,t) which correspondto the varioust values(Figure 1) are
thus obtained.

• s(B,t3)


Figure 1. Kinematic representationof the Lagrangian residual velocity field in barycentric

coordinates: xi (i = 0; 1) are different points of departureof particles; G (xi, ti) are the
centersof gravity of the particleslxajectoriesstartingfrom point xi at time
Salomon et al. 63

Following Foreman et al. (1991), averaging these vectors over time may be
attemptedto obtain a single value:


Clearly, by proceedingin this way, part of the movementspectrumfrom the

calculatedcurrent field is removed,which then has to be compensatedfor by
increasingdispersionterms. Thus, the formalismof Reynold'sstresson the meso-
scale,introducedby Ronday (1976) is approximated.
However,this correctionattemptis not satisfactory,
sincethe advectivecomponents
which were to be eliminated, represent a water and mass flux in a direction
determinedby the tide, whereasa diffusionterm representsa flux in the directionof
the concentrationgradient.
An alternativesolutionwas soughtby introducingbarycentriccoordinates.


The basicidea of this methodis that eachwaterparticlewill make only one long
term displacement.Therefore,it has only one residualvelocity. The difficulty run
into above was due to the fact that residual displacementswere assignedto
geographicalpoints, which are not characteristicof a particle, unless they are
combined with a notionof time:onlythe (Xo,to), pair characterizes
a particle. So,
anothersingleparameter,being the equivalentof the (Xo,to) pair was sought.
Following up on the ideas of Miche (1944) concerningsurface waves, an ideal
parameterto characterizea particle could be its positionat rest, i.e., its positionin
the caseof a tidal movementwhoseamplitudewouldbe infinitely small.
In fact, for obviouspractical reasons,this positionis extremely hard to determine
numericallyand will be initially replacedby the positionof the particle'scentreof
gravity during the tidal cycle under consideration.

Thus, along with the calculationof eachparticle'sLagrangianresidualvelocity, the

of theparticle
will becalculated

o+•to t 1

The Lagrangianresidual velocity is now allocatedto this center of gravity (the


This referencemodificationcorresponds to a displacementof eachof the beam vectors

and Vrl(Xo,t) becomesseparatedand approximatelydistributedalong the edgesof
an ellipsoid centredon point Xo(pointsG (Xo,to) and G(xo, tl) on Figure 1).
Gatheringat the samepoint or immediatelybesideit, other Vrl vectorsare observed
which in fact involve the same water mass, but were determined by releasing
particles at other moments, and other locations distributedalong the same particle
trajectory (point Xl at time tl, on Figure 1).
On the contrary, particles releasedat the same point of departureXo, but at time tl
(different from to) will undergoa distincttrajectoryand probably a differentresidual

Thislastvectorwill be allocatedIoadifferent
centerof gravityG(xo,tl) (onFigure1).
Finally, it has been numerically verified (Orbi and Salomon, 1988), that vectors
gatheringin the same area were nearly identical. However, small discordances may
be observed in some places which we initially attributed to inaccuraciesin the
constructionof tidal trajectories,but may also be related to the chaotic part of the
movement set out by Ridderinkhof and Zimmerman (1992). Without solving the
question, probably becauseour computationsare limited to only one tidal cycle,
thesediscrepancieswere always found to be very small and could easily be included
in the dispersivepart of the movement.
The current field thus obtained could be used as it is, to calculate displacementsor
residence time, with the precaution of effecting a transpositionbetween true three-
dimensionalspaceand the new coordinatesystem. Thus, a particle releasedat Xo, at
the moment to, would undergo a spatial translation, and a series of particles
successivelyreleased at the same Xo spot, would be apart from each other in the new
reference. Each is placed at the centre of gravity of the movementdefined during a
tidal cycle. An inverseconversionthenhas to be made to returnto true space.
As this velocity field is stationary, it might be non-divergent, but because of its
kinematic elaboration which does not explicitly involve the notion of mass
conservation,this is not absolutelytrue everywhere. This basic property especially
fails near capeswhere the particle'saveragepositionmay be quite different from its
position at rest. However, for some practical applications dealing with water
movements, transit times or fluxes, of water or dissolved chemicals, if the velocity
field has been carefully constructed(using accuratetidal velocities, a large number
of particles, correct spatial integrationetc.) the velocity field may already be fit for

For other applications, such as computationof long term transport and mixing of
conservative substances,some precautions must be taken to avoid unrealistic
apparent local increasesor decreasesin concentrationswhich would result from a
violation of the conservation of mass.

Two initial possibilitiescould be either using the conventionaladvection-dispersion

equation in its non-conservativeform, or employing a Lagrangianparticle tracking
Salomon et al. 65

A third possibility,preferableto this study,will be to slightly correctthe currentfield

obtainedas explained above, to make it non-divergent. Advantage is taken of this
operationto try to effect the transformationbetween the centre of gravity reference
and that of the positionof particlesat rest.
It is then possibleto proceedin two successivestages:

first, the correction of two-dimensional currents (integrated on the vertical

usingan iterative
procedure,for instance,

then, for a 3D calculation, horizontal velocities may be corrected in the same

way, then vertical velocities deductedusing the continuity equation.
At the outcomeof this last operation,a single Lagrangianresidual velocity field is
finally obtained, very close to the previous one, yet non-divergent,thus enabling the
advection-dispersion equationto be solvedby a conservativenumerical method, such
as thoserelating to the controlvolume approach.
The ideal velocity field we are seeking, which involves the position of particles at
rest is unique, by definition. The one we obtain here is clearly not, at least because
of its numerical representation,but it is very close to it, and after this last step of
correction, conservative.


Not only are Lagrangian residual velocities interesting for describing and
understandingphenomenalinked to long term circulation patterns, but they present
anothermajor advantagein enablinga direct calculation,over long time durationsof
the displacementand mixing of a dissolvedsubstance.
Let us considerthe usual expressionof the advection-dispersion

9 .9C - [K]V2C=0 (1)

with C being a concentration

[K] is the tensorof turbulentdiffusionand V the instantaneousvelocity.
This can also be written:

=0 (2)

DC/Dt representingthe concentrationvariation along a trajectory, which can be

directly calculatedhere in Lagrangianresidualvelocity field, with a time step equal
to a tidal

Since the spatial reference is distorted by the barycentric transformation,the

turbulent diffusion term [K] will have slightly different meaning than its usual one,
when usedthroughoutthe tidal cycle,in Euleriancoordinates.Intra-tidaldeformation
of the water mass is absent from the calculations based on these residuals and this
has to be compensatedfor by increasing[K]. The deformationof the water mass
being generally an order of magnitude lower than the tidal oscillation, one may
expectthis correctionto be small. This will be later verifiednumerically.
It must be noted that C is by no meansa field of averagevalues over a tidal cycle,
which in this case would correspondto very high [K] values;C is an instantaneous
value field which corresponds to the [K] tensorvalueswhich are very close(if not
exactly identical)to thosein a calculationbasedon tidal currentfields (i.e. of about
10 m2 s-1 in horizontaldirections
andsome10-1 m2 s-1 in the verticaldirection(see,
for exampleFisheret al., 1979).
As hoped (see above), the method thus complies with fine spatial structures
(dimension >3Ax) and enablessteepgradientsto be represented.
It can also be noted that, for reasonsof numerical stability, at least, the integration
time step is not necessarilyequal to one tidal period. We can easily reduceit and
(2) with a smallertime step,or solvean equation
identicalto (1), with Vrl replacingV. The only limit of the time stepwill be due
to thenumerical
dependon V, throughP6clet'snumberor Courant'snumber,using Vrl will enable a
time stepfrom 10 to 100 timesabovethat usedwith instantaneous velocities. Thus
carryingout thesecalculationsover very long periodswill not be very costly.

Variationof TidalAmplitude

Up to this point, it was assumedthat the tide was perfectlyperiodic,includingonly

M2, M4, M6. Since this is not true, one possibilityto extendthe methodto real tides
would be to considereach elementarycomponentof the tidal spectrumseparately,as
did Foreman et al. (1991), and calculate the residual currents related to each one,
then add them together. However, their compositionis not linear, and when the
related currents-amplitude
is a few tensof centimetersper second,which is the case
in the Channelnear capesand islands,quite poor resultscan be expected.
In fact, on the northwestEuropeancontinentalshelf, the main tide componentsare
M2 andS2, whosecombination
givesa semi-diurnal
tide (herecalledD2) whose
amplitudevariesevery 15 daysbetweenthe sum and the differenceof M2 andS2. It
was therefore considered to be preferable to make Lagrangian residual current
calculation for a few specific D2 amplitudes (spring, average, neap) and then
interpolateamongtheseresultsfor any otherD2 amplitude. If possible,this unique
tidal constituent which sums up the different semi-diurnal componentswill be
imposedalong oceanicboundariesof the model, where higher order termsare very
weak, and these will be generatedwithin the field, according to hydrodynamic
Salomon et al. 67

In practice,this degreeof sophisticationwill often be unnecessary.As trajectoriesor

diffusion calculationsare carried out over long periods (a few months or years), just
one D2 tide, whose amplitude is equal to the quadratic average of true tides, is


Wind stress on the water surface is an important driving force of water masses,
having no true periodicity. To use the present method, therefore, the wind's
continuous evolution in time has to be replaced by a successionof conditions
assumedto be stationary,then calculatingthe Lagrangianresidual currentsfor each
of thesephases.
Hence, we have to look for the system'sdynamic memory, i.e. the duration over
which an initial condition of the water mass remains perceptible, after external
conditions have changed. This may be worked out doing combined simulations of
the tide and suddenlyvarying wind fields. For the north-westEuropean continental
shelf, we found that this lapse time is 4 days (Salomonet al., 1993). This may be
consideredas a cut-off frequencyof the hydraulic system,which is unable to follow
atmosphericevents of shorter duration, in detail. As a consequence,the true
evolution of weather conditions will be assimilated into a successionof stationary
wind fields and the Lagrangecurrent calculationexplainedabove performed for each

In practice, to limit the amount of calculationdue to the fact that an infinite number
of meteorological situations can be thus defined, the Lagrangian residual current
calculation could be run on only a finite number of these, and interpolation made
among the values to find solutions which correspond to any non calculated
meteorologicalsituation. In the latter case, complete Lagrangian residual current
calculation is replaced by a simple spatial interpolation.

Results and Discussions


a) Residualcurrentcalctflation

The method(Figure 2) was appliedto the entire WesternEuropeancontinentalshelf

(Figure 3). The resultspresentedhere are limited to the EnglishChannel.
The two-dimensional meso-scale numerical model is of the finite difference type
with a regularmeshandresolutionof onemile, usingthe A.D.I. methodof solution.
The method has been widely describedin literature (see Leenderstee,1970) and will
not be reproducedhere (also see Salomonand Breton, 1991). Similarly, Orbi

et al. (1988),describe
methodin barycentriccoordinates.
The resultsobtainedfor the Channelislesregionare shownin Figures4a and4b for
averagetide andno wind.

various tidal and

wind conditions


phase Calculation

of Lagrangian


related to tidal and

and winds windconditions




2. Flowchartforcalculation
of currents
Salomon et al.



Figure3. Locationmap

Figure4a showsa fieldof Eulerianresidualvelocities,

ascouldbe obtained using
severalthousand current-meters.
Manygyrestructures canbe seen,for example
aroundthe La Hague cape and AlderneyIsland, createdby topographical
unevenness. A generalcurrentcanalsobe observed,turnedtowardLa HagueCape,
in the south-west- north-east
directionalmoston the map'sdiagonal,as well as a
northerlycurrentalongthecontinent.Themasstransport velocity(Figure4b) shows
but theirintensitycanbe quitedifferentat times.
The Lagrangian currentexpressed in barycentric coordinates(Figure4c) reveals
largelydifferentstructureswhichare sometimes total opposites.The general
currentno longerexists,highlyintensivecyclonicgyresappearabove
shoalsand aroundthe ChannelIslandswhich were not presentin Eulerian
The northerlycurrentalongthe coastlineis now replacedby a
current.The quantitative
importance of Lagrangiandriftscanbe notedin
this application.

The field of Lagrangian residualvelocities,

for divergence(Figure4d)
differslittlefromtheoriginal.All thestructures
in Figure4c, can
also be seenon Figure 4d, and currentsare slightlyless regularsincelocal
topographicalvariationscreate equivalentdifferencesin velocity. It must be
rememberedthat the depthsinput into the model have not been smoothedat all. As
expected,the largestdifferenceswere foundalongthe coastlinenear capes(for
instancealongLa HagueCape),overoneto two meshesin width. On this site,the
zero flux conditionperpendicularto the coastlineperceptiblymodifies the

Similar calculations of residual currents were made all over the Channel for an
averagetide and eight wind stressdirections,regularlyspacedby 45ø, as well as for
no wind(SalomonandBreton,1993). Wind stress
was7.2 x 10-2 Pa.

Figure 4: a: Eulerian residual currents;

b: mass transportvelocities
c: raw Lagrangianresidualvelocitiesin barycentriccoordinates
d: Lagrangianresidualvelocitiescorrectedfor
Salomonet al. 71

Figure5 shows
of theresidual
on a spotlocated
Strait of Dover, as it can be calculatedby interpolation-extrapolation
using these
nine numericalvalues. The Figureis simplefor this specificcase. Approximate
northwindof approximately
2 m s-1cancels
outthe8 cms-1residual
by the tide.
By performing
for eachmeshin themodel,Lagrangian
residualcurrentfield corresponding
to every meteorologicalsituationcan be

6 shows
fora situation
tideanda 6 ms-1windfrom
the southwest,
makesup the averagequadraticwind on the


.060 •--•

040....... • •----"•- •.•"- '__•

050...... -•--•- •

-- .......... .010 - •---


5. Intensity
of Lagrangian
andforceof windfor
a specific
point,neartheStraitof Dover.WN andWE arenorthandeastcomponentsof the

b) Longtermdispersion

The dispersion of an almost conservative radioactive chemical element was

thatof antimony
at La HagueCapeby a nuclear
The advection-dispersion
equationwas solvedin the conservative
• 3t
+V.(HC9rl) - H[K]V2C

The numericaldiagramcombines Kurihara-type timediscretization(Roache,1982)

andQuick-typespatialdiscretization (Ldonard,1981). The dispersion tensoris
limitedto a singleelement,spatiallyvariableaccording
to Elder'sformula(1959)'
K= [tVH

The It coefficientis knownto be about0.25 in constant

Two series of tests were run:

ß an initialcalculation
wasmadeusingthesinglefieldof currents
in Figure6. The
timeneededto achievean equilibrium,is about18 months.Very goodcorrelation
betweenmeasurements andcalculations
wasobtained (Salomonet al., 1991)for a
value of 0.7. The dispersioncoefficient then lies between 10 and 50 m2 s-1
dependingon location.

øv•-•'• England

•> S Br/•u
..L•E• ! 2 knl

Figure6. Residual
for average
Salomon et al.

7. 125Antimony
a: Computedwith a uniqueresidualvelocityfield.
b' Computed
witha sequence
of 3.5 daysaveraged

It wasthusverifiedthata singleLagrangian
residualvelocityfield enablestheuseof
a dispersion
of thesameorderof magnitude,
a bit higher(0.7,
insteadof 0.25), as thatwhichwouldbeenusedwith instantaneous
tidal velocities.
ß A secondseriesof simulationswere run using a successionof residual current
to meteorological
overa duration
half a

The best result obtained here, illustrated by the example in Figure 7, was for a
of It = 0.3. Thevalueof K thenliesbetween
10and20 m2s-1. Thisis the
proof that all the operationsfor extracting long term current componentsdid not
introduceany parasitediffusion.
In the preceding application, part of the time variability residual current field was
lost becauseonly annual mean winds were used, leading to a slight overestimationof
the dispersion coefficient. By inputting wind fields averaged twice a week, the
model can operatejust as it does with real wind fields and instantaneouscurrents.

2) Three-dimensional

Barycentric method results, extendedover the vertical dimension are given for the
Strait of Dover area (Figure 8). The numerical techniqueof the tidal model was
presentedin Lazure and Salomon(1991) and was usedhere in unchangedform.
Figure 8 shows several vertical cross-sections of the Lagrangianresidual currentsin
the case of no wind. Highest velocities,oriented toward the North Sea, can be seen
in the center of the Strait, especiallyabove sandbanks. There, lowest depth values
correspondto highestvelocities. On the contrary,along the coast,in similar water
depths, velocities are much lower and in some places, oriented toward the English

Dispersioncalculationof fresh water inputs in the Channel were conductedin three

dimensions, using these Lagrangian residual velocity fields, for different wind
situations. Although in situ validationswere not conductedin detail, resultsappeared
to be very coherent with what is known about salinity distribution in the region, the
most interestingaspectsof the methodbeing its educationaland economicalaspects.


The calculation method for Lagrangian currents in barycentric coordinates was

developedfor shallow macrotidal seas.
The model demonstratesthat it is possibleto remove the paradoxin Lagrangiandrifts
and obtain a single residual current field for given external conditions. By not
smoothingthe velocities,we avoid the input of any artificial dispersion. The cut-off
frequency of the tidal model is preserved and a precise description of long term
currentsincluding small-sizedspatial structuresis obtained.
These currentfields can then be usedfor direct calculationof transportand mixing of
dissolvedsubstances(or micro-organisms)over a very long term, in compliancewith
high-gradientpatterns. This calculationis fast and quite inexpensive.
The Channel application demonstratedthe method'sinterest and a possibleway to
extend it to non periodic tides and variable wind
Salomon et al.

'.' ABOVE 0.110
.':"":'":'. 0.100 - 0.110

/•l I I I l •N " • 0.090 - 0.100

• 0.080 - 0.090

t i'!IIi!%'?'•
ß i i-;"-'i'-IF I I i Y Zi_Li I , ! I
0.070 - 0.080
0.060 - 0.070
•......... 0.050 - 0.060
•:'"'""•'• 0.040 - 0.050
• 0.030 - 0.040
..... 0.020 - 0.030
CHANNEL,,,/II [ I I ! i I.IL "='<'"• 0.010 - 0.020
• •! ! I I t • It •: !.L!rl, o.oo
!;ii'•:..BELOW 0.000

Figure8. Verticalcross-sections
of the 3d. Lagrangian
residualcurrentsin the Straitof Dover
for no wind and average


Cheng R.T., Feng S. and Xi P. On Lagrangianresidualellipse.In Physicsof Small Bays and

Estuaries, edited by J. Van de Kreeke, 102-113. Lecture notes on Coastal and Estuarine
Studies,Springer-Verlag,Berlin, 1986.
Feng S.. A three-dimensionalweakly non linear model of tide-inducedLagrangianresidual
current and mass-transport,with an applicationto the Bohai Sea. In Three dimensional
Modelsof Marine and EstuarineDynamics,editedby J.C.J.Nihoul andB.P. Jamart,471-488,
Elsevier OceanographySeries,Amsterdam,1987.
Feng S. On the Lagrangian Residual velocity and the mass-transportin a multi-frequency
oscillatorysystem.In Coastal and Estuarine studies,edited by R. T. Cheng, 38, 34-48..
Residualcurrentsand long-termtransport.SpringerVerlag, 1990.
FisherH.B., List E.J., ImbergerJ., BrooksN.H. Mixing in inland and coastalwaters. Academic
Press.New York, 483 p, 1979..
Foreman M., Baptista A., Walters R. Tidal model studiesof particle trajectories around a
shallow coastalbank. AtmosphereOcean30,43-69, 1992.
Lam D.C.L., Murthy C.R., SimpsonR.B. Effluent transportand diffusionmodelsfor the coastal
zone. Lecturesnotes on coastaland estuarinestudies.SpringerVerlag, 1984.
Lazure P. and Salomon J.C. Coupled 2D and 3D modelling of coastal hydrodynamics.
OceanologicaActa, 14, 73-180, 1991.
LeendertseeJ.J. andGrittonE.C. A water qualitysimulationmodelfor well mixedestuaries.Vol.
II. The New York city RandInstitute.TechnicalreportR-708-NYC, 1971.
Leonard B.P. A survey of finite differenceswith upwinding for numericalmodelling of the
incompressiblecorrectivediffusion equation.In Computationaltechniquesin transient and
turbulentflows, PineridgePress,2, 1-36, 1981.
Longuet-Higgins M.S. On the transportof mass by time-varying ocean currents, Deep Sea
Research, 16, 431-447, 1969.
Miche M. Mouvements ondulartoiresde la met en profondeur constanteou d6croissante.
Annales des Ponts et Chaussdes,2, 1944.
Orbi A. and SalomonJ.C. Dynamiquede mar6e dansle golfe Normand-Breton.Oceanologica
Acta, 11, 55-64, 1988.
RidderinkhofH., ZimmermanJ.T.F. Chaoticstirringin a tidal system.Science,258, 1107-1111,
RoacheP. Computational
fluid dynamics.HermosaPublishers,Albuquerque,446 p, 1982.
Ronday F. ModUleshydrodynamiques,mod61isationdes syst•mesmatins, projet met, rapport
final. Services du let Ministre, Bruxelles, Vol 3, 270, 1976.
Salomon J.C., GuegueniatP., Orbi A., Baron Y. A Lagrangianmodel for long term tidally
inducedtransportand mixing. Verification by artificial radionuclideconcentrations,
In Radionuclides: a toolfor oceanography.ElsevierApplied Science,1988.
SalomonJ.C. and Breton M. Courantsr6siduelsde mar6e dansla Manche. OceanologicaActa,
11, 47-53, 1991.
M. Mathematical
of 125Sb
in the
Channel.In Radionuclidesin the Studyof Marine Processesedited by P. Kershaw and D.
Woodhead,74-83. ElsevierApplied Science,1991.
SalomonJ.C. andBretonM. An ariasof long term currentsin the Channel.OceanologicaActa,
16, 439-448 1993.
SalomonJ.C., Breton M., Gu6gu6niat. Computedresidualflow throughthe Strait of Dover.
OceanologicaActa, 16, 449-455, 1993.
VreugdenhilC.B. and Voogt J. Hydrodynamictransportphenomenain estuariesand coastal
waters:Scopeof mathematicalmodels.Symposiumon modelingtechniques.San Francisco,
California. A.S.C.E., 690-708, 1975.
ZimmermanJ.T.F. On the Euler-Lagrange•xansformationand the Stocke'sdrift in the presence
of oscillatoryandresidualcurrents.Deep SeaResearch,26, 505-520,

Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories in

SpencerGulf, South Australia
P. J. Bills, D. W. F. StandingfordandB. J. Noye


This paper reports the application of the advection-diffusionequation in hindcasting

the movement of an oil spill which occurredduring rough weather at Port Bonython
in SpencerGulf, SouthAustralia,in late August1992. A fine-grid model tracksthe
slick in the immediate vicinity of the spill and then a medium sized grid (with
elements five times the linear dimensionof the fine-grid elements) tracks the slick
to landfall. Slick size is renormalisedperiodicallyand adjustedin accordancewith
the formulae that describe the dimension of a spill during given phases of slick
evolution. Slick shapeis determinedby the advection-diffusion model. Tidal forcing
at the open boundaryof the fine-grid model is obtainedfrom runs of the medium-grid
model, which in turn uses tidal forcing information from a coarse-gridmodel. The
elements of the coarse-grid model have linear dimension fifteen times those of the
fine grid. Wind forcing for the trajectory models is obtainedfrom a half-hourly time
seriessuppliedby the AustralianBureauof Meteorologyfor the durationof the spill.


The efforts of tidal modellersare increasinglybeing directedtowards applicationsof

their programsto environmentalproblems. Concernfor the degradedstate of the
planet's environmentprovidesa natural impetus for this. On one hand the models
can be applied to problemsassociatedwith the managementof finite resources,such
as the studiesinto the movement of prawn larvae that are being conductedby Noye
et al. (1992) in SpencerGull SouthAustralia(inset,Figure 1).

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages77-94
Copyright1996 by the AmericanGeophysical
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories


oct• , G•f
•r• /
• Broug•

.• /Reevesby
•. Wardang

Q .....

Figure 1. Locality map for SpencerGulf and the corresponding coarse-gridmodel. Model
locationof tidal observation
stationsis indicatedby *. The locationof the openboundaryfor
the medium-gridNorthern SpencerGulf model is marked.

On the otherhand the modelscan be appliedto mitigatethe impactof pollutionof

varioustypesin the marineenvironment.In this paperwe examinethe performance
of an oil slick trajectorymodel (Standingford,1992) which was designedfor the
immediate vicinity of Port Bonython, a hydrocarbonspre-processingfacility on
SpencerGulf, SouthAustralia. Initially it was intendedthat the performanceof
Bills et al. 79

model be comparedwith that of a parametricoil slick trajectorymodel developedin

the early 1980's as part of an Environmental Impact Study that preceded the
construction of the Port. Some controlled releases of diesel were made at that time
and observations
of thesehavebeenpublishedby SANTOS Ltd. (1981a,b).

However, in strongwinds on 30th August 1992, 296 tonnesof ship'sfuel oil were
accidentally spilled into SpencerGulf at Port Bo•.ython when the tug "Turmoil"
collided with the 95000 D.W.T. tanker "ERA". The spill was the largestin South
Australian history and caused enormouspublic concern. In spite of concerted
attemptsto containand dispersethe slick at sea, an estimated20 tonnesof oil made
landfall, enoughto causethe death of hundredsof seabirds. The landfall site, south
of Port Pirie, is abundantin mangrovesand possiblelong term damage to fisheries
and prawn nurseries there is being studied. The events of the spill served to
underline the need for a model capable of accuratelypredicting a slick's trajectory
so that maximum resourcescan be directed to the containment and subsequent
reclamationor dispersalof the oil at sea.

Accordingto the World Almanac (1991) more than one trillion gallonsof oil have
been accidentally released into the global environment in the last 25 years.
Attempts to model these spills have received a significant boost with the
development of stable and accurate three-dimensional tidal models and new
powerful computerhardwareon which they run. A growing literatureis developing
on the subject. For example, Lardnet et al. (1988) have developed a pollutant
transportmodel using the advection-diffusionequation and have applied it to the
simulationof a 5000-barreloil spill in the ArabianGulf. They considerthe processes
of surfacespreading,weatheringand both horizontal and vertical dispersion. They
also describeattemptsto model the sub-surfaceplume of an oil slick and predict that
significant proportionsof a spill can eventually reside beneath the surfaceif the oil
remains at sea for sufficient time. They also comment that as much as 1.5 million
tons of oil is spilled per decadein the Arabian Gulf! A more recent estimateof the
amountof oil spilledthe ArabianGulf is 20,000-40,000tonsa year (A1-Rabeh,1993).

A1-Rabeh et al. (1989), among others, use an alternative approachin which the
Lagrangian movement of discrete packets of oil is used, to which is added a
stochasticmethod of simulatingthe eddy diffusion, in order to model the movement
of a slick. In additionto includingadvectionand turbulentdiffusion,the processesof
surfacespreading,vertical dispersion(due to wind-drivenwave action), evaporation
and emulsificationare also included. A1-Rabehand Gunay (1992a,b) generalisethis
work to include the dispersionof a range of passive pollutants in the offshore
Safaniya area of the Arabian Gulf.

The presentpaperrecordsour first attemptsto model the trajectoryof the relatively

small Port Bonython slick. Thus far the work has not proceededto include the
modelling of the sub-surfaceplume, evaporation or emulsification. The results,
however, show that the observed trajectory of the slick in the vicinity of Port
Bonythonis faithfully
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories

The HydrodynamicModel

The movement of the oil slick was determinedusing tidal and wind-driven currents
generatedby a three-dimensionalhydrodynamic-numeric model.
This model consistsof the o-transformed barotropic tidal equations with wind
forcing, and is given in Noye and Bills (1992). Only aspectsof the hydrodynamic
formulationdirectly relevantto the presentapplicationwill be includedhere.
The equationsare closedby using a prescribedform for the vertical eddy viscosity
coefficientN•I. The form usedis

2+v2, (1)


is the transformedvertical coordinate, such that Xl = 0 representsthe

transformedsea surfaceand Xl = 1 representsthe transformedseafloor,
is a minimumabsolute
valuefor N•I; thevalue0.0001m2s
-1 is used,
F(11) is the prescribedvariationof the vertical eddy viscositycoefficientin
the Xl direction; the form
F(xl)= Axl2 + Bxl+ C
is used, where A = - 4Nmax+ 2b + 2s, B = 4Nmax - b- 3s, C = s;
S = F(0), Nmax = F(0.5) = 1.0 and b = F(1.0) are the surface,mid-depth
and bottom values used,respectively,
is a dimensionless constant, determined numerically as the value
which minimizes errors between observedand predicted tidal flows;
the valueI• = 0.0050is used.
H is total depth, and
U,V are the depth-averagedvelocity components.

It is assumed
Sx,Syof surfacestress
to the xl-gradientof surfacecurrentin the following way:

in whichp is thedensity
of seawater,
at 1027kgm-3 andu,vare
the depth-dependentcomponentsof currentvelocity. The surfacestresscomponents
may also be expressedin terms of the wind velocity field using the following
quadratic law:

Bills et al. 81


P& is thedensity
of air (assumed
at 1.225kgm-3),
(U10,V10) are the horizontal componentsof wind velocity recorded 10 m above
mean sea level (MSL), and

C10 is a dimensionlessdrag coefficient which depends on wind speed

according to some empirical formula; the relation proposed by Wu
(1982), viz.

-3 (4)
for light to hurricaneforce winds is used.
At the open boundariesof the model tidal elevation is specified as the sum of the
contributionsof the four dominant tidal constituents,two of which are diurnal (O1,
K1) and two semi-diurnal(M2, S2). A Sommerfeld-typeradiationconditionis used,

O3•b o3•
+ c -7fi-n
= 0, (5)
where phase speedC is calculatedin the Orlanski (1976) manner, n is measuredin
the outward normal direction, and external meteorological and tidal forcing are
specifiedthroughthe openboundaryelevation(b.

The Advection-DiffusionEquation
For the present study the oil slick is regarded as residing in the surface layer. It
advects with the water surface as a result of wind and tidal forcing and undergoes
horizontal diffusion. The mass of a real oil slick diminishes with time due to vertical
dispersion through the water column and the evaporation of lighter fractions, but
these factors are not included here. The governing equation adopted is the well
known two-dimensionaladvection-diffusionequation:

•c •c •c a2c a2c
where C(x,y,t) is the mass concentrationof oil at position (x,y) at time t. The
velocities us and vs are the surfacevelocitiesin the x and y directions,respectively.
These values are computedas the model simulationproceeds. It is intendedthat the
model be available for on-line simulationsfor predicting the movement of a slick, so
for that reason the advection-diffusion equation is solved concurrently with the
tidal/windsimulation.The termsus(3C/3x) and vs (3C/3y) model the advection
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories

theoil withthesurface
the eddy diffusion of the oil on the sea surface;without theseterms,which contribute
a random spreadingof the oil in all directions,the spatially centreddifferencingused
for the advective terms tends to break the oil up as though it were a solid. The
mxandmyare the horizontaleddydiffusioncoefficients
in the x andy
directions.The value 80 m2s-1 is used,basedon field studiesdonein the Northern
SpencerGulf region by Holloway (1974) (see also Noye, 1984).

The Finite Difference Scheme

The finite difference approximationsused for the equationsof the hydrodynamic

model can be found in Noye and Bills (1990, 1992) and in Bills (1991).
The Arakawa C lattice is used for both the tidal and advection-diffusionmodels, with
massconcentrationC definedat the grid point usedfor elevation( (Figure 2).
Using time and space-centredfinite difference approximations for both first and
second derivatives, an explicit approximationfor mass concentrationat time level
(n+2) and position i can be developedin terms of values of massconcentrationat
time levels (n+l) and n, and values of surface velocity at time level (n+l). The
secondorder spatial derivativesare differencedon a grid with uniform spacingAx
and Ay in the x and y directions,in the manner

n+l 12[c'n+l
1- +2
l,..i+ - +C• 1
wherea term2Cp+l hasherebeensplitbetween timelevels(n+2)andn as
(C?+ C?2} in orderto achieve
finite difference formula obtained is as follows ß

- Ci +Ci2

•i+l _cn+l•
i-1]- C
i Ci
1 2

where Cyn+lareCourant
Bills et al.

• Ax -



[ ¾i

Figure 2. The basicgrid elementcontains3 grid points,one for elevation• and mass
concentrationC, and one each for the u and v velocity components.

Cxin+l=• '
Ax Ay

_ Cry
At' d•=(Ay)2
dx- (Ax)2
where At is the uniform spacingin time. Subscriptil refers to the element "above"
the elementi in Figure 2 and i2 refers to the element "below"; subscript(i-l) refers
to the element on the left, (i+l) to the element on the right. The velocity quantities
+1 and{Vs}•
+1 areaveraged
givenat themass
I'Anson(1989)hasshownthattheaboverelationis stablefor dx= dy= d
< 1/4.Non-negative
- answers
if Cxin+l= CYin+•=Crsuch
that-2d-< Cr
< 2d, but this sufficiencycondition is not necessaryand is overly strongin practice.

Phase Formulae and Slick Size

The oil is introduced into the model at the rate at which it was spilled into the
environment. Contours of mass concentrationare obtained from the predictions of
the advection-diffusionprocedure. A methodfor approximatingthe boundaryof the
slick from thesecontoursis then required. Fay (1969) providesempirical
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories

upon which to base estimatesof the size of a slick as a function of time, given the
initial slick volume V. Hoult (1972) and Stolzenbach et al. (1977) give useful
discussions of these formulae. Slick evolution is divided into three characteristic
phaseswhich highlightdominantspreadingand retardingforceson the slick:

Gravity-Inertia Phase
of slick- [g (@w- @oil)/@w]

Radius- [g (Pw- Poil)/pw]l/6


where g is the accelerationdue to gravity, @wis the density of water and Poil the
density of oil, ¾ is the kinematic viscosityof water and c• is the net surfacetension

Having estimatedthe size of the slick from the above formulae, the position and
shape of the slick is that which corresponds to the contours of highest oil
concentrationgiven by the advection-diffusion
procedure(see Figure 3).

__ ModelledSlickboundary

Continuous concentration

Figure 3. If the empirical formula indicatesthe slick occupies100 gridsquares,the extent of

the modelled slick is taken to be the 100 gridsquaresof highestoil
Bills et al. 85

Tidal Forcing

For the immediatevicinity of Port Bonython,a 1500 elementfine-gridhydrodynamic

model - denotedPtB - has been developed(Figure 4) with element dimensions381
x 38l m2. The spilledoil is released
intothismodelandthe slickis
trackeduntil it is aboutto leave the model throughits north-eastern
At this point the locationof the slick is transferredto a 930 elementmedium-grid
modelof NorthernSpencerGulf (elementdimensions: 1905x 1905m2 basedon the
depth-averaged tidal flat NorthernSpencerGulf (NSG) model of Bills and Noye
(1992). The three-dimensional NSG model developedhere, however,doesnot take
into accountthe wetting and drying of tidal flats - mean sea level depthsfor the
model are given a minimumvalue of 2m in orderto preventelementsdrying. The
slick is trackedwithin the medium-gridmodel until it reacheslandfall on the eastern
coastof SpencerGulf.

Port Augusta

1905mt•y 1905m)

, [ I


Figure4. NorthernSpencerGulf, showingthe threegridsused. 225 fine-gridPort Bonython

(PtB) model elementsmake one coarse-gridSpencerGulf (SG)
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories

Tidal forcing for the medium-gridNSG model is derived from the predictionsof a
coarse-grid760 element model of the whole of SpencerGulf (element dimensions:
5715x 5715m2 ) developed
by BillsandNoye(1986). Thismodelis shownin full
in Figure 1. Measurementsof amplitudeand phasefor the major tidal constituents
O1, Ki, M2 and S2 at four positionsat the mouth of the Gulf taken by Steinberg
(1983) drive the SpencerGulf (SG) model. Tidal forcing for the PtB model is taken
from the NSG model. The PtB model has spatialresolution225 timesthat of the SG

Radiationopen boundaryconditions(5) are usedfor both the fine-grid and medium-

grid models since both are wind and tide driven.

NSR Studies

Experimental diesel slick releasestracked by Natural SystemsResearchPty. Ltd.

(NSR) to calibrate their model were used as a means of testing the frae-grid PtB
model. Although trajectoriesof 21 runs were recordedin the SANTOS (1981a,b)
reports (11 in the Summerand 10 in the Winter investigations),only the Summer
experimentfield conditionsare availableand theseare in the June 1981 report. The
scale of the original SANTOS (1981a,b) trackingregion is small in comparisonto
the extentof the Port Bonythongrid usedhere. Not all of the 11 Summertrajectories
are suitable for comparisonas many make landfall within 1.5 hour close to their
release point. This correspondsto the movement of the slick by only a few grid
squareson the Port Bonythonlattice and doesnot fully test the model.

Two trajectorieswere selectedfor comparison. The input wind data for these cases
were taken from the field notes of the original NSR study. The input windspeed
(knots) and direction (degreesTrue) were recordedat given times during the two
runs. Linear interpolationwas usedto provide valuesbetweenthesetimes.

The results recorded by NSR (SANTOS, 1981a) for the observedand predicted
trajectoriesof thesetwo field releasesare illustratedin Figures5 and 6. Trajectories
predicted by the hydrodynamic/advection-diffusion model (TED/ADM) developed
here are included for comparison. The TED/ADM program produces output
describing the movement and evolution of the entire slick, and is not specifically
developedfor tracking the centroid of a slick. A routine that finds the position of
highestmassconcentrationbasedon the locationsof the four adjacentgridsquaresof
highest oil concentrationis therefore used to plot the centroid of the slick. In both
runs, the trajectory given by the TED/ADM program comparesfavourably with
observations. Best performanceis observedwhen the slick moves quickly (Figure
5). The qualitativebehaviourin Run 6 is similar to the event of 30th August 1992,
when the slick quickly roundedPoint Lowly and headednorth. In this case,the NSR
model predictslandfall near Point
Bills dt al.

o NSR simulatedtrajectory

..... Observeddieseltrajectory

(,• TED/ADM centroidtrajectory

(Markersindicate15 min steps)

(Jetty) [NSR Run6
Figure5. Trajectoriesproducedby NSR andTED/ADM modelsc.f. observations
for Run 6.

a NSR simulatedtrajectory

..... Observeddieseltrajectory
V, ß •) TED/ADM centroidtrajectory
(Markersindicate15 min steps)

•• StonyPoint
'•...•,• Point
Release '
•nt I NSR
Figure6. Trajectories
by NSR andTED/ADM modelsc.f. observations
for Run7.

From the runspresentedin Figures5 and 6 it canbe seenthat, given the limitations
discussedearlier,the modelperformswell. The comparison with NSR Run 6 shows
the moders ability to producetrajectoriesin agreementwith thoseobservedwhen
movementof the slick is comparableto the grid scale. Run 7 illustratesthe scale
problemwith our method. When landfall is madein a shorttime, non-zeromass
concentrationis presentin only a few grid elementsand the predictionsof the
centtoldalgorithmare not reliable;a Lagrangianparticletrackingmethodmay be
better suited in this instance.

The NSR parametric modelwasusedby SANTOSLtd. duringthe August1992 spill

at Port Bonythonbut provedunableto predictthe trajectoryof the slick.
The August1992slickmovedoutsidetheboundsof thePtB fine-gridmodel. Details
of the contingencies
usedto keep track of the slick with the NSG medium-grid
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories

August1992 Spill
At 10:42 a.m. on Sunday 30th August 1992, during rough weather, the tugboat
"Turmoil" holed the tanker "ERA". The resultant release of 296 tonnesof heavy
engine oil createda slick which was driven acrossthe Gulf by tidal and wind action.
Some 20 tonnes eventually made landfall in sensitivemangrove areas south of Port
Pirie. At least 600 seabirds died and local fishermenare seekingcompensationfor
anticipateddamage to the fishery in that area.
In addition to having first hand observations of the position of the slick from
SANTOS staff, the Bureauof Meteorologyhasprovidedhalf hourly wind datafor the
entireperiodfrom Whyalla airport,only 18 km from the site of the spill.
For the immediate vicinity of Port Bonython, the 1500 element fine-grid tide and
wind-drivenPtB modelof Figure4 is usedwith a time stepof 16sec. The spilledoil
is releasedinto this model and trackeduntil it is about to leave the model throughits
north-easternopen boundary,when its location is then transferredto the 930 element
medium-gridNSG model, usedwith an 80sec time step. The slick is trackedwithin
this model until it reacheslandfall on the easterncoastof SpencerGulf.
The wind data for the models is obtained at each respective time step by linear
interpolation of the given wind data. Since wind data for only one station is
available it is assumedthat the interpolatedwind field applies to the entire model at
the given time. This assumptionis clearly more valid for the PtB model than for the
NSG model.

The value of surface vertical eddy viscosity used is crucial to how well the slick is
modelled. If taken too high the slick barely moves, but oscillates back and forth
with the wind and tide driven currents. If too low, the slick races across the Gulf
under the influence of the wind and quickly makes landfall north of Port Germein.
As little practical information for the selection of a value for the surface eddy
wasavailable,tenvaluesin multiplesof 0.001m2s-1 in therange0.001-
0.010m2s-1 weretriedin orderto ascertain
of thisparameter.These
surfacevalues of vertical eddy viscosityare low comparedto the maximum attained
lower down in the water column and so the function used to describe the vertical
distributionof eddy viscositywas taken•be a parabolawith maximum at mid-depth.
The marine fuel slick is modelledby releasingthe 296 tonnespill over a period of 3
hour 25rain (the observeddurationof the spill) into the grid squareon the PtB grid
correspondingto the end of the 2.4 km long Port Bonythonjetty. The centroid
trajectoriescorrespondingto the use of the surfacevalues of vertical eddy viscosity
m2s-• werecalculated
andFigure7 shows
threeof these.
When the slick approachesthe open boundaryof the PtB model, the position of the
slick is transferredto the corresponding
positionin the Northern SpencerGulf model.
The trajectoriesfollowed by the centroidfor the three surfacevertical eddy viscosity
values0.001 m2s-1 , 0.005m2s-1 and0.010m2s-1 , after transferto the NSG model
until landfall, are illustrated in Figures 8-10. The observedtrajectory, provided by
SANTOS Pry. Ltd., is shownfor comparisonin Figure
Bills et al.

coefficient 0.001.

_•_ Surfaceviscosity
- coefficient 0.005.

,•, Surfaceviscosity
"*' coefficient0.010.

Markers at 15 min

Figure 7. Simulatedtrajectoriesfor the August30th 1992 spill from the end of the jetty at Port
Bonython.Thesurface verticaleddyviscosity
is variedfrom0.001m2s-1 to 0.010
-1. Increasing
thevalueslowstheeastwardmovementof the
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories

= 0.001)
- - tmarKers lnalcare poslu( every2 hr)

•,\ Port

• ,,.


Figure 8. Simulatedtrajectoryfor the spill on August30th 1992 usingsurfaceeddy viscosity

value0.001m2s-1in the NSGmodel. Landfallis incorrectly
only6 hourafterthe
transfer is made between models.

TED/ADM trajectory,
= 0.005)
k •'Z -•- (markers

M '•- PortGermein


t Pirie
.•• Po
Figure 9. Simulatedtrajectoryfor the spill on August30th 1992 usingsurfaceeddy viscosity
value 0.005 m2s4 . Landfall is made near Port
Bills et al. 91

= 0.010)
every2 hr)

--\ Port

ix. J -,,,

, • mllo

Figure 10. Simulatedtrajectoryfor the spill on August30th 1992 using surfaceeddy viscosity
value0.010m2 s-1. Theslickremains
in PortGermein
of proceeding

'X,, -Approaches c Monday

• Moves
,-•.. --\ Port

•. /-- stataonary
tat nearWard Spit


I "" ?tlLcwlyl:•y
S.>il [ iiC0pm
1,):•2am", Pirie

on Tuesday
Pi'ee• •_Mangroves
Figure 11. Observedtrajectoryfor the marine fuel spill of 30th August 1992. Landfall is made
south-westof Port Pirie in densecoastal
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories


The applicationof the TED/ADM model to the marine fuel spill of August 1992 has
provided a useful indication of its strengthsand weaknesses. Within the fine-grid
PtB model the observedtrajectoryis reproducedwell. When the slick is transferred
to the NSG model, the trajectory simulation is reasonably accurateuntil the slick
moves close to the coastline. In the NSG model, the grid squaresare nearly 2 x 2
km 2 and this is too coarse a scale at which to resolve the slick which was at one
point observedto be only 500m long and 100m wide when it was about 10 km north
of Port Pirie. The wind data from Whyalla airport is probablynot appropriatefor use
near the eastern coast of the Gulf, where a local land-sea breeze and the influence of
nearby mountain ranges could reduce the effect of the North-Westerly winds
measuredat Whyalla. Possiblyfor thesereasons,landfall in the mangrovessouthof
Port Pirie was not attained. Greater spatialresolutionnear coastalboundariesseems
necessaryto produceaccuratetrackingnear the landfall region.


The events surroundingthe oil spill of August 1992 have focusedattentionon the
need to developan accurateoil slick trajectorymodel for the Port Bonythonregion.
The spill occurred2.4 km offshoreon the west coastof SpencerGulf and travelled
for two days before making landfall just 20 km away. It's trajectory was
complicated, and much effort was expended keeping track of it and deploying
personnel to be ready for clean-up on landfall. Using a computer model which
accuratelypredicts the trajectoryof the slick could free resourcesfor the clean-up

A trajectorymodel designedto run in parallel with the tidal programso that on-line
meteorologicaldata can be used,has been presented.
The model was tested againstfield data collected in a previous study by NSR Pty.
Ltd. It performed well, but showeda loss of accuracywhen movementmodelled is
small in comparisonto the grid scale. Finer spatialresolutionseemsnecessarywhen
slick velocity is small and/or when the slick is near the coast.
The oil spill of 30th August 1992 provided a useful set of data for validating and
improving the model. The simulated trajectory of this slick closely paralleled the
observedone while within the fine-grid PtB model. When transferredto the coarser
NSG grid, accuracydiminished. Among the reasonsfor this is the fact that the NSG
model elementsare nearly 2 km squareand thereforetoo coarseto resolvethe slick
which was much smallerthan this as it approachedlandfall near Port Pirie. Another
sourceof error was the application of wind data from Whyalia airport to the entire
NSG model, since it is likely that near the easterncoast local land-seabreezes and
the influence of low mountainrangeswould modify its speedand
Bills et al. 93

for FutureDevelopment
The model has been developedto a point where it can form the basis for developing
a predictive tool for the tracking of oil slicks in the region of Port Bonython in
Spencer Gulf and, provided sufficient driving and calibration information is
available,at other sites in the Gulf. There are, however,a numberof improvements
that can be made:

ß Model the three-dimensional structure of the slick.

ß Extend the fine-gridmodel acrossthe Gulf to take in the full path of the slick.
ß Improve the modelling of the physics of the slick to include evaporation,
emulsificationand solidification. The formationof "wind-rows"was observedprior
to landfall of the August 1992 spill and this, too, shouldbe investigated. Satellite
images taken at the time may improve the observationaldatabase.
ß Include wind data from Port Pirie to supplementthe data from Whyalla airport,
and include the influence of atmosphericpressurein the tidal model when it has
been extendedacrossthe Gulf. This data is already available from the Bureau of
Meteorology. Use the recordedtide at Port Bonythonto check that the tidal model
is correctlyforced. It is possiblethere were significantsurgeeffectspresentbefore
and after the spill occurred.
ß Modify the three-dimensionaltidal program to include the wetting and drying of
the shallow regions of SpencerGulf so that the actual bathymetryof the shallow
coastal zone can be used.

ß Investigate the empirical formula used for surface wind stress (Wu, 1982) to
account for the differing shear stress responsesof oil and water, and for the
characteristicsof individual oil types.
ß Implement a stochasticmodel of the movement of the oil slick.

Acknowledgments.The authorswish to thank the AdelaideBureauof Meteorology

for providing the wind data for the period spanningthe spill event, and the National
Tidal Facility for providing the tide-height constantsused to drive and calibrate the
tidal models. The provisionof the observedtrajectoryby SANTOS Pty. Ltd. is also
gratefully acknowledged. Comments by referees were used to improve the final
version of the article.


A1-Rabeh,A.H., Models for the simulationof the transportand fate of oil spills in the Arabian
Gulf, ArabianJ.for Sci.Engng,in press,1993.
A1-Rabeh,A.H., H.M. Cekirge and N. Gunay, A stochasticsimulationmodel of oil spill fate
and transport,Appl. Math. Modelling, 13, 322-329, 1989.
A1-Rabeh,A.H. andN. Gunay, On the applicationof a three-dimensionalhydrodynamicmodel
for a limited seaarea, Coastal Engng, 17, 173-194,
Modelling Oil Slick Trajectories

A1-Rabeh, A.H. and N. Gunay, On the application of a particle dispersionmodel, Coastal

Engng, 17, 195-210, 1992b.
Bills, P.J., Barotropic depth-averagedand three-dimensionaltidal programsfor shallow seas,
Ph.D. thesis,The Universityof Adelaide, 1991.
Bills, P.J. and B.J. Noye, Tides of SpencerGulf, SouthAustralia, in ComputationalTechniques
andApplications:CTAC-85, editedby J. Noye and R. May, ElsevierSciencePublishersB. V.
(North-Holland), 519-531, 1986.
Bills, P.J. and B.J. Noye, Numericalmodel of a coastalsea with tidal flats, in Computational
Techniquesand Applications:CTAC-91, editedby J. Noye, B. Benjamin and L. Colgan, 117-
126, 1992.
Fay, J.A., The spreadof oil slicks on a calm sea, in Oil on the Sea, edited by D.P. Hoult,
Plenum Press, 53-63, 1969.
Holloway, P., Determinationof eddy diffusion coefficientsfor Northern SpencerGulf, Cruise
Report 4, Flinders Institute for Atmospheric and Marine Sciences, Flinders University of
South Australia, 19 pp., 1974.
Hoult, D.P., Oil spreadingon the sea, Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics,4, 341-368, 1972.
I'Anson, K., A numerical model of the movementof prawn larvae in SpencerGulf, Honours
thesis,The University of Adelaide, 164 pp, 1989.
Lardnet, R.W., W.J. Lehr, R.J. Fraga and M.A. Sarhan, A model of residual currents and
pollutanttransportin the Arabian Gulf, Appl. Math. Modelling, 12, 379-390, 1988.
Noye, J., Physicalprocessesand pollution in the waters of SpencerGulf, Mar. Geol., 61, 197-
220, 1984.
Noye, B.J. and P.J. Bills, A three-dimensionaltidal model for coastalseas, Proc. of the Third
Australian Supercomputer Conference,The Universityof Melbourne,Australia,December3-
6, 1990.
Noye, B.J. and P.J. Bills, A three-dimensionaltidal model for coastalseas,in Computational
Techniquesand Applications:CTAC-91, editedby J. Noye, B. Benjaminand L. Colgan, 373-
384, 1992.
Noye, B.J., P.J. Bills, K. I'Anson, and C.C. Wong, C.C. Predictionof prawn larvae movement
in a coastalsea, in ComputationalTechniquesandApplications:CTAC-91,editedby J. Noye,
B. Benjamin and L. Colgan,385-392, 1992.
Orlanski, I., A simple boundarycondition for unboundedhyperbolicflows, J. Computational
Physics, 21, 251-269, 1976.
SANTOS Limited, Liquids Project: Oil Spill Trajectory Study, Final Report on the Stony Point
SummerInvestigations,June 1981, 30 pp. + Appendices,1981a.
SANTOS Limited, Cooper Basin Liquids Project: Oil Spill Trajectory Study, Final Report,
September1981, 29 pp. + Appendices,1981b.
Standingford,D. W. F., A wind and tide driven oil spill trajectorymodel of the Port Bonython
region of SpencerGulf, SouthAustralia, Honoursthesis,The University of Adelaide, 162 pp,

Steinberg, C.R., Tidal exchangesat the mouth of Spencer Gulf, South Australia, Honours
thesis,FlindersUniversity of SouthAustralia,79 pp, 1983.
Stolzenbach,K.D., O.S. Madsen,E.E. Adams, A.M. Pollack, and C.K. Cooper, A review and
evaluation of basic techniquesfor predicting the behaviourof surfaceoil slicks, Ralph M
ParsonsLaboratory for Water Resourcesand Hydrodynamics,Report No. 222, Dept. Civil
Engineering,M.I.T., 1977.
World Almanac and Book of Facts,New York World TelegramCorporation,1991.
Wu, J., Wind stresscoefficientsover sea surfacefrom breeze to hurricane, J. Geophys.Res.,
87, 9704-9706,

Tide-Induced Residual Currents Generated

by the StokesLayer in the Rotating Tidal

H. Yasuda


Tide-induced residual currentsdue to the nonlinear effect of the bottom Stokes layer
have been analysed in the idealized basin with the Earth's rotation effect. The
nonlinear effect generating the residual current can be produced by the horizontal
variations of tidal currentsbesidesexistenceof the Stokes layer. This study shows
that the Earth'srotation effect can induce the depth-averagedresidual current in the
tidal basin with horizontal variationsof a tidal currentthough suchaveragedcurrents
are not generated by any means in the non-rotating basin. This depth-averaged
residual currentsare generatedin the longitudinal and lateral directions of the tidal
current if the tidal current has lateral and longitudinal gradients, respectively, and
they get larger with the increaseof the Coriolis parameter. In the case where the
tidal current has longitudinal variation, the residual current forms a vertical
circulation even in the basin with no Earth's rotation effect, which has been
presentedso far both theoretically and experimentally,while the vertical circulation
becomes quieter by the rotation effect. The tide-inducedresidual currents obtained
in this study can be applied to the residual currentsobservedin Hiuchinada Sea of
the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, in the south area of the North Sea, Europe, and in the
hydraulic experimentalbasin.

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages95-109
Copyright1996 by the AmericanGeophysical
Tide-Induced Residual Currents


The tide-induced residual currents, due to the nonlinear effect of the tidal currents,
have been studied by many researchersand several generationmechanismsof the
currenthave been presentedso far (Zimmerman, 1981, Robinson,1981, Wright and
Loder, 1986 etc.). In HiuchinadaSea of the Seto Inland Sea, Japan,there flows the
residual current well-known to the local fishermenand oceanographers, but such
residualcurrent cannotbe observedin the hydraulic scalemodel by any means,the
scaleratio of which are respectively1/2000 and 1/160 in the horizontal and vertical
directions(Yasuda, 1989). The generationmechanismof this residual current has
been obscure for a long time though many kinds of field observationshave been
carried out in this sea. Judging from the fact that this residual current can be
observedall the year round, it is consideredto be causedmainly by the nonlinear
effect of tide or tidal current. The basic tide, i.e., M2-component of tides is
reproducedacculately in the whole area of this model and the current in the model
also well corresponds to the reality in generalregardingthe M2-component. As this
scale model has no Earth's rotation effect, the observed residual current in the real
sea is expectedto be generatedby the effective action of the Earth rotation.
Further, it has been shown that the vertically averaged along-isobathresidual
currentsgeneratedover the ridge dependedon the Coriolisparameterin strengthand
the along-isobathresidualcurrentwas not recognizedin the non-rotatingbasinif the
tidal currentcrossedover the ridge perpendicularly(Yasuda and Zimmerman, 1986).
It is suggestedeventually that theseresidual currentscould be obtained in the tidal
basin with the Earth's rotation effect by taking accountof the bottom Stokeslayer
and the horizontal variation of tidal currents. Combination of the horizontal and
vertical variations of tidal current can generally produce the nonlinear effect
inducingresidualcurrentseven in the non-rotatingbasin.
In this study, the tide-induced residual current due to the Stokes layer will be
analysed in a rotating tidal basin with the amplitude of tidal currents varying
horizontally, and this analytical result will be applied to the generation of the
residual current in Hiuchinada Sea and the other basins.

An Analysisof theTide-InducedResidualCurrents

If the nonlineareffect of currentsis very weak, motion equationsgoverningthe tidal

currentscan be decomposedinto those of the basic oscillatory,residual and the other
tidal components(Yasuda, 1981). The motion equationsof the basic oscillatoryand
residual currents can be written as

3u-•-T 3qT +vz•32UT

- vTf=-g• (1)
3t 3x 3z
Yasuda 97

•}VT •}qT •)2VT

•+uTf=-g +Vz• (2)
•}t •-y •}z

+Vz UT VT (3)
2- •)x
[s •)Y

+vz •)z2 - uT •)x[s- vT •)Y/s (4)
where u and v are respectively componentsof current velocity in x and y directions
of the horizontal plane, and q, f and Vz are the displacementof the sea surface,the
Coriolis parameterand the vertical viscosity,respectively. The axis z indicatesthe
vertically upwarddirectionfrom the seafloor. SuffixesT and S denoterespectively
the basic oscillatory and the residual components. The horizontal friction terms are
neglectedhere assumingthat the horizontal variation of the tidal current given as a
conditionof this model is much gentler than the shearof the Stokeslayer formed by
the horizontal viscosity.

The third terms of Eqs. (1) and (2) expressthe pressuregradientdue to the tide. If
the amplitudeof this third term can be regardedas constanthorizontally, we can get
the analytical solution of the vertical structureof the oscillatory current as follows
(Yasuda, 1987);

FRei 1+f (1- off.)e_(l_i)bz

uT=-- +1-2 f (1+otf
ß)e-(1-i)az * e-i•t
- (1-otf)
• 2

ß ß

* 1-i)bz
....1 f (1
vT = --Re {

(1- af
+af* )e-(1-i)otz f* (1 a)}e

where • is the frequency of the basic tide and F is the amplitude of the pressure
gradient force due to the tide. Symbol i expressesthe imaginary unit concerning
time. The coefficient F/• is the conventionalamplitudeof the tidal current in the
outsideof the boundarylayer and f the Conohs raUo to the tidal frequency,f/•. a
(1 + f * ) 1/2 13s
andb arerespectively and(1- f * ) 1/2 13s,
and13sis (•/2Vz)1/2 the
reciprocal of which indicates the characteristicthicknessof the Stokes layer. a
determining the tidal current ellipse dependson the width of the basin. When a
takesunity, the ellipticity of the tidal currentgets zero in the outsideof the boundary
layer. Although the vertical componentof the current might be induced by the
continuity of water, its effect will be neglected here since it depends on
Tide-Induced Residual Currents

horizontal topographyand it makes this problem complicatedvainly. The solution

processof the equationsgoverningthe oscillatorycomponentand the details of (5)
and (6) have been describedin Yasuda (1987).

If the tidal currentshave similarity in both of the lateral and longitudinaldirections,

the fourth and fifth terms of Eqs. (3) and (4) become known and we can get the
analytical solution of the residual current somehow. Although there are another
terms generatingthe residual componentexcept for these terms in fact, they consist
of higher frequency tidal currents and can be neglected as small quantifies in the
very weak nonlinear model. Equations (3) and (4) yield the following vorficity
equationin the vector expression.

33Xs 3Xs=Q (7)

vz jf
•}z3 •}z

where X = u + jv and j is the imaginary unit concerningspace, which is different

from the above i concerningtime. Q is the vorticity of the generatingforce of the
equalto •Tx/•Z+ j•Ty/•Zif Tx=
+ <VT•UT/•Y>s
andTy = <UT•VT/•X>s+ <VT•VT/•Y>s. Although Q is
rather complicated in the concrete, (7) is a nonhomogeneousordinary differential
equationand we can analyticallysolve it. A generalsolutionof (7) can be given as

Xs- C1
+• 2' 2
where C1, C2 and C3 are complex integral constantsregarding j and ¾ is (1 +
of which
characteristicthickness of the Ekman layer. Boundary conditions for the special
solutionare describedas follows; (1) current velocity is zero at the sea floor, (2) no
stressis given at the sea surface,(3) vertically integratedvelocity the componentof
which is perpendicularto the coast is zero and (4) the pressuregradient along the
coast is zero.

The generationterm Q can be introducedas follows. If u and v can be respectively

of theproductof the
bothcanbewrittenasRe[fl.f2*]/2,where* means
of thecomplex
number. Since the amplitude F/o consistsof the real part only, the real and
imaginarypartsof Q can be respectivelyexpressedas

• x=•zz
U3U ,}+•-'•yy
{fu'fu U3U ,}']
{fu'fv (9)

•)Ty=3z•) •)U{fu
3z [•
3x 2 3y , U3U
{fv 'fv }
Yasuda 99

where U is representativeof F/o, the horizontal variation of which is assumedto be

as calm as the horizontalviscousterm can be neglected. fu and fv correspondto the
termsin (5) and(6), respectively,
suchthatUT= Re[Ufue -ic•t]andVT
= Re[Ufve-iC•t].
Therightgeneration termswillbeusedwellin therightcaseof two
typical modelsin the following section.

Tidal Currentsin Two TypicalModel Basins

If the variationsare rather gentle comparedto that in the lateral Stokeslayer due to
the horizontal viscosity, the amplitude of the vertical profile of the tidal current is
consideredto keep similarity horizontally. Therefore the horizontal variation can be
expressedby the variation of the tidal current in the outside of the bottom Stokes
layer and the vertical variation can be given by that of the solutions(5) and (6). The
hodographof vectors of the basic tidal current generally forms ellipse, called tidal
current ellipse, and the ellipficity dependson the Coriolis ratio and the nonlinearity
of the tidal current(Yasuda,1987). For simplicityof consideration, the ellipficity is
assumedzero in the outsideof the bottom Stokeslayer in this study although the
ellipticity might be recognizedin the insideof the Stokeslayer. The vertical profiles
of the elementof the tidal currentellipse are drawn in Figure 1. (a), (b), (c) and (d)
in the figure show the amplitude of the tidal current,the ellipticity, i.e. the ratio of
the minor axis to the major one, the phaselag of the major axis and the orientation
of the major axis, respectively. Each ordinate is normalized by the characteristic
thicknessof the Stokes layer and numerals in the figure indicate the ratio of the
Coriolis parameter to the frequency of the basic tide. The ellipticity and the
deflection of the major axis orientationget larger with the increaseof the Coriolis
parameter ratio.

10- 10 z


¸ 0.8

0.5 10 0.2 0.4 60 ø 90 ø 0o 20 ø

U,,,ffU,,,•,• U,,,,/U,,,• Phase

lag O•ientauon

(a) (b) (c) (d)

Figure 1. The vertical profilesof the element of the tidal current ellipse: (a) the amplitude,
the major axis of the tidal current ellipse; (b) the ellipticity, the ratio of the minor axis to the
major one; (c) phaselag of the major axis; (d) the orientationof the major
100 Tide-Induced Residual Currents

SolutionCurvesof the ResidualCurrentin Two Typical Cases

The tidal currentsdrawn in Figure 1 give generatingterms of the residual current

concretely and the residual current can be obtained by taking account of the
boundaryconditions(1), (2), (3) and (4). Figure 2 showssituationsof two typical
casesrepresentingthe horizontal variation of tidal currents. The upper of this figure
is the first case where the major axis of the tidal currentellipse has a grandientonly
in the lateral direction. We could assumethat the coastlineruns along the x-axis in
the first case. The lower is the secondcasewhere the major axis of the tidal current
ellipse has a gradient only in the longitudinal direction. It may be reasonablethat
the coastlineruns in the y-direction in the secondcase.

Tidal CurrentEllipse

StrongTidal Current

Weak Tidal Current


StrongTidal Current Weak One

• .17

Figure 2. Two typical examples representing the horizontal variation of the tidal current
ellipse. The upper figure shows the first case where the ellipticity of the tidal current has
gradientonly in the lateral direction and the lower the secondcase where the ellipticity has
gradientin the longitudinaldirection
Yasuda lol

The generationterm Q1 in (7) is written in the first caseas

3Tx 3Ty U dUd , ,

Q1= +J .... [(fu 'fv ) +j(fv'fv )] (11)
3z 3z 2 dy dz

solved as

j[ .....1=UdU[A2-f +j2(1-f ) e-2bz B2-f +j2(l+f ) -2az

f o dy 2 5f'2-8f*+4 2 5f'2+8f*+4 e
1 AB -pl z
A bz
(sinp2+ j cosp2)+ •e-
2- D2[•f2
bz 1-2f

-j(D 2 - D2
- 2

B -az{(D2 + D2•f2+D1
+--e .
a2)cosaz-j(D 2 + D2a2+Dl•f
2 l+2f l+2f 2f

where a = [•s(1+ f*)l/2, b = [•s(1- f*)l/2, A = (1 + f*)(1 - {xf*)/2,B = (1 - f*)(1 +

•tf*)/2,Pl = a + b,P2= a- b,D1= 1 - {xf'2 andD2= f*(1 - Ix). Although it is
rather complicated,we can impliedly understandthe vertical dependenceof the
residualcurrent. The secondandthirdtermsof (8) simplygive the verticalprofiles
of the steadycurrentwith the Ekman layer.
Figure 3 showsthe vertical profiles of the residualcurrentin this case. (a) of this
figure is the x-directionalcomponent,the direction of which correspondsto the
longitudinalone of the tidal current, and (b) the y-directionalcomponent. The
positivedirectionsof x and y-axesare indicatedin the first figure of Figure 2. The
ordinateand the abscissaof Figure 3 are normalizedby the characteristicthickness
of theStokes
1/2 andU/o.dU/dy,respectively,
in the
figure indicate the Coriolis ratio. U representsthe the characteristicvalue of the
major axis of the tidal currentellipse in the outsideof the boundarylayer. These
verticalprofilesare drawnin the casewherethe normalizeddepthof the tidal basin
is 20. The currentvelocityis uniformin the regionwhichis at a distancemore than
ten from the floor in the basin the depthof which is more than ten. The x-directional
(along-coast) residualcurrentflows in the samedirectionin the wholedepth,while
the y-directionalone is recognizedaroundthe Stokeslayer, i.e., just abovethe sea
floor only. These residualcurrentsbecomelarger as the Coriolis parameterratio
increases,which are not generatedin the basin with no Coriolis
102 Tide-Induced Residual Currents



0.1 0.3 06 08 0.9

l0 TM


0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 -0.1 o o• oi',

3. Vertical
in thefirstcase:(a) x-directional
and (b) y-directional(lateral)component.

• -z:
o{ 15
-,} 2o


0.9 O• 06 03 O1


-{• I (} {)i 02 -1 () -0'8 -{}'6 -0 4 -{).2 {•

Figure4. Verticalprofiles
of residual
in thesecond
and (b) y-directionalcomponent.

in thesecond
caseof Figure
2 as
UdU d , ß
Q2 = -- --{(fu 'fu ) + J(fu'fv )} (13)
2 dx dz

Theanalytical integral
of (13)corresponding
to (12)is omittedhereforpagesaving
sinceit is alsoascomplex as(12)andyetthez-dependence is similarto it. Figure
4 showsthe residual currentsin the secondcase of Figure 2. The
Yasuda 103

residual current, flowing in the whole depth acrossthe major axis of the tidal current
seeingthe weak tidal currentarea on the left side, is not generatedwhen the Coriolis
ratio is free and it gets larger with the increaseof the Coriolis ratio just like the first
case. In this case, the x-directional current inside of the Stokes layer flows toward
the strongtidal currentarea when the Coriolisratio is lessthan 0.5, on the otherhand
it flows reverselywhen the ratio is more than 0.5. Although no residual current is
generatedin the above first case with no Earth's rotation effect, the longitudinal
residual current is generatedin this case even when no Coriolis effect, which has
been presentedas tide-inducedvertical circulationsby Ianniello theoretically(1977)
and Yasudaexperimentally(1981).

Application to the Real Residual Currents and Concluding


In Hiuchinada Sea of the Seto Inland Sea in Japan the mean depth of which is
around20m (Figure 5), there flows a residualcurrentin the whole depth along the
east coastas drawn in Figure 6 (Yasuda, 1989). Arrows in Figure 7 show 15 days-
averagedresidual currentsmeasuredby my institute (Higo, Takasugi and Tanabe,
1980). Since the density of the sea water is fairly uniform and the residual current
can be observedall the year round, this resiudal currentis consideredto be generated
by fides or tidal currents.
Judgingfrom the horizontaltopography,it is expectedthat the residualcurrentmight
be generatedby the headland at the north side (Pingtee and Maddock, 1979).
However, such residual current cannot be measured by any means even in the
hydraulic scale (Froudian) model where current separationcan be induced more
easily than the real sea (Yasuda, Higuchi and Hayakawa, 1979), and yet the tidal

Yann•aguchi }liroshima
• • .__.9. 1tONSIIU
.a Q O

.- •- / ----t..,
/I •rait•uixu / .........
............. • •icn. '•o

The Pacific Ocean

Figure 5. Location of HiuchinadaSea in the Seto Inland

104 Tide-Induced Residual Currents

'ø Hiuchinada
•-•X,,•• •' øI'Reiidial
O • •• Weak

Figure6. The outline feature of the residualcurrent and the M2-tidal currentobservedin
Hiuchinada Sea.

bank presentedby Pingreeand Maddock(1979) cannotbe recognizednear the head

land. This is becausethe tidal currentis not so strongas the currentseparationis
induced. This residualcurrenthasnot yet beenexpounded as the densitycurrent,the
wind-induced current nor the headland flow, in other words, no generation
mechanismof the currenthas beenpresentedthus far.
Contourlines in Figure 7 showthe amplitudeof M2-currentmeasuredin the above
scale model, where the oscillatory componentis reproducedwell, and numerals
besidearrows indicatethe amplitudeof M2-current measuredin the field observation
which fit the contour of the scale model. Numerals in the brackets are the values of
the residual current vectors. The lateral shear of the tidal current is considered to be
formed as somethinglike a dead zone by the effect of the peculiar horizontal
topography.The off-shoreresidualcurrentin the insideof the Stokeslayer givenby
the analyticalsolution(Figure 3) can be verified by the grain-sizedistributionon the
floor in this sea, in which the grain-sizeis ratherroughin spite of the weak tidal
current as drawn in Figure 8 (Tanimoto, Kawana and Yamaoka, 1984). These facts
suggestthat the residual current in this sea correspondsto the first case of the
generationmechanismsof the residual current.

In the southarea of the North Sea betweenEngland and the Continent,the residual
currenthas been recognizedwhich flows southwardalong the coastof Englandand
eastward along the coast of the Continent (Figure 9 illustrated after Haren and
Joordens(1990)). It is expectedconsideringthe topographythat the tidal currentis
strongnear the straightand decreaseswith the distancefrom the straightto the north.
Thesemean that this residualcurrentflows seeingthe weak tidal currentarea on the
left side. The tidal currentpatternaroundthis sea has a possibilityto generate
Yasuda 105


0 10 20/on

Figure7. Residualcurrentvectorsover1:5daysandthedistribution
of the amplitude
of M2-
current(cm/sec). Numeralsbesidevectorsindicatethe amplitudeof M2-current.
133 ø 134 ø






34 ø
134 ø
• •7
133 ø • 4-7

Matsuyama { •) 2-4
(• 1-2
0 10 20 30 40 50km(• .,:1

Figure8. Distribution
of thegrain-size
of theseafloor(Mdo)aroundthemiddleareaof the
Sero Inland
106 Tide-Induced Residual Currents

NorthSea --"2

o ,

,.,, "';.?_
..... ..,/'
( -.•t'Residual
n• • ...... J Currents

Dover Straits

Figure 9. The residual current observedin the south area of the North Sea (after Haren and

residual current there consideringthe secondcase of the present generationmodel.

Although some generationmodels have been so far presentedas to this residual
current, the author would like to pose this new model as one of the generation
mechanism of the residual current in this sea.

Yanagi and Yoshikawa (1983) have shown through Eulerean measurementof the
floats' movement in a hydraulic basin that the cyclonic residual circulation was
inducedin a rectangulartidal bay with constantdepth on a rotating table (Figure t0)
thoughthe residual currentwas not obviouslyobservedin the caseof no rotation. In
their experiment, the major axis of the tidal current, the ellipticity of which was
nearly zero, was uniform in the lateral direction and decreased linearly from the
mouth to the head of the bay. If we apply the second case of the generation
mechanism to their experiment, the lateral residual current expected in the whole
depth ought to decreaselinearly similar to the tidal currentbecausethe magnitudeof
the residual current is proportionalto U/c• dU/dx (indicatedby R. in Figure t0). In
the rectangularbasin, the integratedvalue of the lateral componentof the residual
current ought to be zero as a matter of course. If we take account of this new
condition, the lateral residual current is considered to counterbalancethe slope
current in the longitudinal sectionfrom the mouth to the head of the bay. Therefore
the cyclonic circulationresultsfrom this slope currentbeing uniform longitudinally
(indicated by S.).
Figure t t shows the vertical profiles of the resultantresidual currentnear the bay
mouth (distancenormalizedby the bay length is 0.2 from the bay mouth) and near
the bay head (normalizeddistance,x , is 0.8) in the casewhere the Coriolis ratio is
0.8. (a) and (b) in this figure are respectively x (longitudinal) and y (lateral)
components. This differenceof the lateral componentsof the residualcurrent
Yasuda 107


• . • sured
Bay Mouth

Figure 10. The outline feature of the residual current measuredin the rectangulartidal basin
with the rotationeffect by Yanagi and Yoshikawa (1983). Signs R. and S. show respectively
the expectedresidual currentin an unboundedsea and the slopecurrentdue to the side-wall.

realize the formation of the cyclonic residual circulation in this bay as shown in
Figure 10.
Although Ianniello (1977) and Yasuda (1981) showedthat the fide-inducedresidual
current at the water surfaceflows outward from the bay head in a rectangularnon-
rotating tidal basin, Yanagi and Yoshikawa (1983) reportedthat no residual current
was observedin the case with no rotation effect in their hydraulic experiment. This
is considered to come from the fact that their experimental basin was not long
enough to recognize the residual current at the water surface and that the lateral
residual current at the middle latitude is estimated as several times larger than this
outward residual current. The residual current would be recognized by the close
observationeven in their experimentif the basin length were longer.
This study can elucidate the experimentalresults carried out in a fairly small basin
where the current is almost laminar since the residual current in this model has been
analyzed on the assumptionof the constantviscosity. The viscosity is, however,
variable both spatially and temporally in the real sea. Thus I am afraid that the
generatingbehavior of the residual currentmight be more complicatedor different
from this result. This is because Yasuda (1981) has shown that the fide-induced
vertical circulationcould flow reverselyin the caseof the different vertical profile of
the oscillatorycurrent. Although this studyhas elucidateda possibilityof generation
of the fide-induced residual current in the rotating basin, more realistic analysis is
being expectedfor further understanding. A turntablewith a tidal basin for hydraulic
experiments(7 m x 4 m horizontally)is now under constructionin my institute,and
then experimental studies on the residual current in the rotating system will be
carried out in the near
108 Tide-Induced Residual Currents

x' = 0.8
x' = 0.2

0'.1 ' -0'.2 ' 0

Figure 11. The vertical profiles of the residualcurrent expected near the bay mouth (x = 0.2)
and near the bay head (x = 0.8) in the y-directionallyboundedbasin in the secondcase where
the Coriolis ratio is 0.8 as one example.


Haren, J.J.M. and Joordens,J.C.A. Observationsof physical and biological parametersat the
transition between the southernand central North Sea. Observationson the Structure of
Currentsat Tidal and Sub-TidalFrequenciesin the CentralNorth Sea, 89-102, 1990.
Higo, T., Takasugi, Y. and Tanabe, H. Tidal currentsin the Seto Inland Sea. Rep. of Govern.
Ind. Res.Inst. Chugoku,12, 81-120, 1990 (in Japanese).
Ianniello, J.P. Tidally inducedresidual currentsin eatuarieswith constantbreadth and depth.
J. Mar. Res., 35, 755-786, 1977.
Pingree, R.D. and Maddock, L. The tidal physics of headlandflows and offshore tidal bank
formation. Mar. Geol. 32, 269-289, 1979.
Robinson,I.S. Tidally inducedresidual flows. Phys. Oceanogr.of Coastaland Shelf Seas,
Elsevier Oceanogr.Series,35, 321-356, 1981.
Tanimoto, T., Kawana, K. and Yamaoka, Y. Grain size parameters and organic matter of
bottom sedimentin the Seto Inland Sea. Rep. of Govern.Ind. Res.Inst. Chugoku,21, 1-12,
1984 (in Japanese).
Wright, D.G. and Loder, J.W. A depth-dependentstudyof the topographicrectificationof tidal
currents. Geophys.Astrophys.Fluid Dyn., 31, 169-220, 1985.
Yanagi, T. and Yoshikawa, K. Generation mechanismsof tidal residual circulation. J.
Oceanogr.Soc.Japan,39. 156-166,
Yasuda 109

Yasuda,H., Higuchi, H. and Hayakawa, N. On the scale effect of the hydraulic tidal model.
CoastalEng. in Japan,21, 201-211. 1979.
Yasuda, H. Tide-induced vertical circulation in a bay with homogeneouswater -theory and
experiment-.•r.Oceanogr.$oc.Japan,37, 74-86, 1981.
Yasuda, H. and Zimmerman, J.T.F. Tide-induced residual currents with Stokes and Ekman
layersover an undulatoryseafloor. •r. Oceanogr.$oc. Japan, 42, 276-293, 1986.
Yasuda, H. Vertical structureof the tidal currentellipse in a rotating basin. •r. Oceanogr.$oc.
Japan, 43, 309-318, 1987.
Yasuda, H. Tide-induced residual current caused by the Coriolis effect. Hydraulic and
EnvironmentalModellingof Coastal,Estuarineand River Waters,95-104, 1989.
Zimmerman, J.T.F. Dynamics, diffusion and geomorphologicalsignificanceof tidal residual
eddies. Nature, 290, 549-555,

Wave and Dispersion Studiesin Shallow

Water Using Side-Scan Sonar

S. A. Thorpe,A. GrahamandA. Hall


Two studies of coastal processesusing high frequency sonar are reported. An

exploratorystudyhas beenmade to establishthe viability, or otherwise,of making
useful sonarmeasurements of wavesapproaching a beach. A rig carryingfour sonar
transducers was deployedon a smoothsandybeachwith sonarbeamspointingalong
and up the beach. Rangesof about 150 m were achievedwith 80 and 90 kHz sonars.
The along-beachbeam can detect longshorecurrents,visualisedin the SOhograph
images as acoustic targets (bubble clouds) which change their range with time.
Both beams respond to surface waves. The period of the waves, and their
wavelengths and speedsin the two beam directions, has been measuredfrom the
sonars,and the dispersionrelation used as a test to establishthat progressivesurface
gravity wavesare indeedbeing detected. The ratio of speeds(or wavelengths)in the
two beams provides an estimate of the propagationdirection of the waves. The
maximumachievedup-beachsonarrangewas howeverlimited to that of the edge of
the surf zone. Patterns which appear to be causedby wave groups are clearly
visible, especially in low wind conditions. In the second study, the acoustic
transducerswere deployedon a rig lowered onto the seabed from a vesselmoored in
a depth of about 40 m in the southernNorth Sea. The vessel remained on site
providing power to the sonarsand collectingdata via a cable in much the sameway
as in the nearshorestudies(but with more risk to the instruments). Bands of bubbles
associated with the surface convergent regions of Langmuir circulation can be
detected,advectedby the tidal streamthroughthe sonarbeams. The sonardata has
been digitisedand reducedto a form which displaysonly the patternof convergence
regions in range versustime. This is used as the basis of a computersimulationto

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages110-134
Copyright1996by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion
Thorpeet al. 111

model the dispersionof 'floating particles' which are releasedinto the pattern and
tracked as they move towards, enter, and are carried in, the convergenceregions,
subsequentlybeing releasedand recaptured.


Sonar offers a powerful, robust, non-intrusive,remote sensingtechniqueto study

near-surfaceprocessesand to quantify their effects. Rangesof 100-200 m can be
achievedin sea water at soundfrequenciesof 80-250 kHz. Short pulse lengthscan
be used,typically 0.1 milli-sec, providinga range resolutionof about 15 cm. This
samplingwindow from 15 cm to 100 m is sufficientto resolvemany of the surface
wave and turbulence-related features which lead to the vertical transfer of heat and
momentumin the upperpart of the water column. At the high sonarfrequenciesof
these studies,soundis efficiently scatteredby small, 50 pro-scale,bubblesproduced
at the sea surfaceby breaking wind waves, and the cloudsof small bubbles produce
acoustictargets which provide telling indicatorsof near-surfaceprocesses. These
riseveryslowly(50 •m radiusbubbles
riseat about5 mms-1),andpersist
for several minutes before dissolving(providing a route for air-sea gas transfer) or
returningto the surface,during which time their horizontaldisplacementin the sonar
beam can be detected and measured, even when the sonar itself is uncalibrated (i.e.
the target strengthis not known). The information collectedby a sonardirected up
towards the surface at a small angle to the horizontal can provide indirect
measurementsof surface currents, including variation in both range and time. The
measurementsof position and displacement,rather than speed (e.g. by Doppler
sonar; see Herbers, Lowe and Guza, 1991), provide graphic imagesof wave-related

High frequencypulsed side-scansonarhas now been used for a number of years to

make measurementsin coastalwaters. The processesstudiedand describedso far in
coastal environmentsinclude vertical diffusion (Thorpe, 1982; 1984; 1986), tidal
estuarinefronts causedby brackish water dischargedfrom a sea loch (Thorpe et al.,
1983), internalwaves and whitecaps(Thorpe et al., 1987), a tidal race (Thorpe et al.,
1985), air-sea gas flux (Thorpe, 1982; Farmer et al., 1993), the effects of oil slicks
(Belloul and Thorpe, 1992), breaking surfacewave groupsand Langmuir circulation
(Thorpe and Hall, 1983; Thorpe, 1992). The sonarhas been usedfixed to a frame
mountedon the sea bed in a water depth of 35 m, with power provided to the sonars
and data carried back to shore via an underwater cable. The sonar system is not
subjectto the extremesof hazard of severemotion and wave action, or of the risk of
damage by passingcraft and fishing, to which conventionalnear-surface'in situ'
samplinginstrumentsare often exposed. It has also been used, in the oil slick and
tidal race studies, towed from a small vessel and, in open waters, it has been
operatedmountedon a submarinein a study of near-surfaceturbulence(Osborn et
al., 1993), and as a free floating internally recordingpackage (Vagle and Farmer,
1992). A measureof the robustnature of the instrumentis provided by the fact
112 Wave and DispersionStudies

we are using one of the same transducersas was used in our initial exploratory
studieswith sonarin Loch Ness (Thorpe and Stubbs,1979).
We report here two experimentswhich provide further evidence of the value and
potentialof sonarin the coastalregion. The sonardata were sampledat 44.1 kHz by
a PCM digital audio processorand recordedon a VCR. The 80 and 90 kHz sonars
were alwaysrecorded,togetherwith one or other of the 250 kHz sonars. The 80 and
90 kHz sonarshave a 20 ms 'deafenedzone' following the trigger pulse and cannot
therefore record signalsfrom ranges less than approximately 15 m (0.5 x 20 ms x
sound speed). Recording of two sonar channels was also made on a Waverley
thermal linescanrecorderto provide immediatevisual images.

Waves ApproachingShore

The Site and Instrumentation

An exploratory investigationwas made on a smooth sandy beach, Auburn Sands,

some4 km southof Bridlingtonon the North Sea coastof the UK. The equipment
used is fully mobile and was set up at the site and operationalwithin 5 hr of our
arrival. Auburn Sands face due east. The beach stretches unobstructed 4 km to
BridlingtonHarbour to the north and 55 km to SpurnHead to the south. It is slightly
concave, with a seaward local radius of curvature of about 20 km. The beach is
remarkably featurelessand level, with a mean slope in the area of observationsof
1.02ø. The surfaceis composedof fine sand and mud. The tidal range during the
periodof the observations
was about4 m.
A weightedrig carrying4 sonartransducerswas placedon the beachat low tide and
connectedto recordinginstnmaents containedin a van via 200m of cable (Figure 1).
The rig is a rectangular framework 1.5 m x 1.5 m x I m high, with a graduated
vertical pole to aid water depth and position estimates. The linear sonar transducers
were set to point horizontally,producingnarrow vertical fan beams. Orientationand
transducerangles were maintainedto better than 4 ø, in most casesbetter than 2ø,
duringthe 5 day experiment. A 250 kHz and a 90 kHz sonarwere directedto point
in direction 282ø from North, up the beach, and a 250 kHz and a 80 kHz sonar
pointed to 192ø, roughly parallel to the shoreline. Once coveredby the rising tide,
the sonarswere switchedon and operatedin pulsed mode. The pulse lengthswere
0.136 _+0.002 ms for the 80 and 90 kHz sonarsand 0.096 ms for the 250 kHz sonars,
givingrangeresolutionsof about0.2 m and 0.14 m respectively.The pulserepetition
rates were set at 5, 6 or 8 Hz. The sonarsproduce broad vertical and narrow
horizontal beams (typically 35ø and 3ø wide in these two directionsrespectively)
which then isonofy narrow sections of water, typically some 1-5 m wide up or
parallel to the beach. The tidal range at the rig was about 3.2 m. The cable
connectingthe rig to the van was buffed in the sandfor protection. The sonarswere
operatedover 7 tidal cycles,two being overnightdemonstrating the viability of a 24
hour per day
Thorpe et al. 113

Given the exploratorynatureof the study,supporting

were only madeof:
(a) Windspeedand direction;
Wind speedsrangedfrom 2 ms-1 to 15 ms-1 (gusting
to 19 ms-1) in directions
between 180ø and 240ø, thus generally with an off-shore component. These
conditionswereperhapslessthanfavourablefor the observations sincethe wind may
have contributedto near-surfaceoff-shorecurrentscarryingbubblesand suspended
sedimentfrom the surf-zonetowardsthe sonar,thusattenuatingthe transmittedsound
before it reached the surf-zone itself.

(b) Waveperiods,heightsanddirectionwell off-shore;

The sonardata provideinformationaboutwave periods(see later). Roughestimates
of wave heightswere made by observingthe sea surfacemotion at the pole on the
rig. The heights varied between 0.2 and 0.75 m. Wave directions were estimated
usinga sightingcompass.
(c) Meanwaterdepth,waterlinepositionandwidthof thesurf-zone;
Positionsof the rig and water line were measuredrelative to a large concreteblock
high up the beach(Figure 1). The width of the surf-zonewas regularlyestimated
usingthe known rig positionon the beachas a reference. The width of the surf-zone
varied from 20 to 90 m.

(d) Beachslopeandprofile;
The beachwas measuredusinga surveyors'theodolite. Slopesvaried from about0.7
to 1.2 ø over the observation area.

(e) Precipitationand temperatures;

The weather was generally dry with no heavy rain (which is known to contribute
acoustictargets;Thorpe and Hall, 1983). Air temperatures
were 4-9øC and the water
temperaturewas 6.2øC.

,f VAN

• CON•RECOR ..•___

' '"•'•- BURIED




• •

• <•..• 160.,•m '•'•-

Figure 1. Sketchshowingthe site andthe sonarbeam orientations. North is along the beach
towards the
114 Wave and DispersionStudies

The Observations

Figure 2 is an exampleof a sonographrecord (range versustime) obtainedusing the

two lowerfrequency
in windsof 11 ms-1 (gusting
to 14 ms-1) blowing
from 180ø, parallel to shore. The water depth at the sonarwas 1.9 m and the waves,
observed to be breaking well inshore of the rig position, were estimated to have a
period of 3.7 s and a height of 0.4-0.7 m at the edge of the surf zone. The upper
record is the 80 kHz transducerrecordparallel to shoreand showsstreaks(e.g. at A)
with low slopesrepresentingtargetsmoving towardsthe sonar(range decreaseswith
time)at speeds
of about13 cm s-1. Occasionally
the originof thesestreaks
visible as a dark, well-definedtargetwhich earlier studies(e.g. Thorpe, 1992; Osborn
et al., 1993) have identified as breaking waves. These streaks are due to bubble
clouds,persistingin the water for 2-5 mins, advecteddown the beam by the mean
longshorecurrent. Their movementthereforeprovidesan estimateof the alongshore
componentof currentnear the sonar,and in the water depth of the sonar,in the same
way as sonar images of bubble clouds in deep water have been used to infer surface
currents(Thorpe and Hall, 1983). Smaller scale, regularly.spacedlines (e.g. along
the directionB), appearingto approachthe sonarmore rapidly at speedsof about 6.4
ms-1, arealsopresent.Theselineshavelengths
of upto 60 m andperiodof 3.5 s.

40 •.

..e-i- TIHE,mLn.

Figure 2. Sonographrecord,rangeversustime with, above, 80 kHz parallel-to-shoresonar

and, below, 90 kHz shorewardspointing sonar. Time increasesto the left. The separation
the verticallinesis 5 rains.Wind 11 ms-1from180ø.Waterdepthat sonar= 1.9m.
The lettersare explainedin the text. The featurescan best be seenby viewing the figure at a
low anglein the directionof the arrowsmarking
Thorpe et al. 115

Their wavelength in the sonar beam direction parallel to shore is about 23 m.

Similar lines, moving away from the sonar, are visible in the 90 kHz, shoreward
pointing,beam (e.g. alongdirectionC). Thesehave the sameperiodbut imply less
shoreat 5.1 ms-1. Theselinesgenerally
more evidentin Figure 8) with a consequent
reductionin the speedas targetsmove
into shallowerwater. The 90 kHz record also showsbandedstructures(e.g. at D)
movingslowly,at speeds
of about1.3 cms
-1, awayfromthe sonar,typicallywith
separationsof 5-7 m and persistingfor 5-10 mins. The target strengthas judged by
the intensity of the record falls off with range, an indistinctedge being visible in the
90 kHz beam. Its positionvariesby some10 m abouta rangeof 75 m.
The high frequency lines with period of about 3.5 s are identified as being
progressivesurfacewaves moving towards shore from a direction, determined from
the relative apparentspeedsof the lines in the two beams,of 141ø. The equality of
period of the higher frequencylines in the two beamdirectionsimplies that the two
sonarsare selectingthe same frequencywaves from the wave spectrumin the two
of phase
in thebeams,
192ø.andCn(5.1ms-1)in direction
of thewave,
c= (1)
canbe estimated
as4.0 ms-1, ascanthewavelength,
•, = c T, =14m, whereT is the
observedperiod of the lines.
We can then test whether the featuresidentified as surfacegravity waves satisfy the
linear dispersionrelation

O2 = gktanhkh (2)

for surface gravity waves (where o = 2•/T is the wave frequency, k is the
= 2•/•,, andh thewaterdepthat therig),by plottingo2/gk= 2•c2/g•,
againsttanh (kh). Figure 3 is basedon averages,eachover some20 waves, of wave
period and speedat different timesduring the 5 days of observation,and showsthere
is substantialagreement,implying that the high-frequency lines are indeed due to
Close inspectionof the 90 kHz sonographshowsthat at places where the surface
wave lines intersectthe edgesof the lower frequencybands,the latter are displaced
towardsthe sonar;betweenthe wave lines there is a displacementtowardsthe shore.
This can be seenin Figure 4, a record obtainedshortlyafter that of Figure 2. The
displacementis (1.0- 1.4) m. The phaseof the motion implies that the wave lines
are themselves associated with times of little or no onshore motion. The motion
precedinga wave line is offshore, and that following is onshore. This identifies the
source of the wave lines as being on the leading face of waves as they approach
shore, between the wave trough where the induced flow is backwards and the
116 Wave and Dispersion Studies





0.6 -

0.4 _ o

O.Z 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0
fanh kh

Figure 3. A test that the high frequency bands seen in the sonographssatisfy the linear
for surfacegravitywaves.Plottedare c•2/gkandtanhkh. A linear
relationship with unit slope indicated by the line should be satisfied if the bands are linear
surface waves.




-25 I•

TIME,min. 2
Figure4. Sonographrecord of the 90 kHz shorewardpointing beam showing,for example at
A, the horizontal displacementsof bubble bandsas waves propagatepast them. This record
was obtained about 30 rain after Figure
Thorpeet al. 117

crest when motion is forwards, in the direction of wave propagation. This implies
that waves are detectedin the shorewardpointing beam by soundbeing reflected by
specularreflection at the rippled faces of onshorepropagatingwaves. The amplitude
of the observeddisplacementis consistentwith the mean depth-integratedhorizontal
onshoredisplacements, x = (2a/kh)coset, producedby progressivewaves. Here c is
the phasespeedof the waves,2a = 0.4-0.7 m is the wave height,and et is the angle
of the wave creststo the shoreline, all estimatedat a distanceof 60 m up the beach
(the range of the featuresatTowedin Figure 4) from the sonarwhere the water depth,
h, is 0.9 m. The estimatedvalue of c of wavesof 3.5 s period in a depthof 0.9 m is
2.8 ms-1, andthe wavelength
is 9.8 m. Sincethe alongshore wavelength, 23 m,
remainsunchanged asthewavesapproach shore,theangleetis sin-1 (9.8/23),andx
= (0.63 - 1.1) m.

The separationand time-scaleof the low frequencybands in the 90 kHz record is

consistent with their being caused by Langmuir circulation, creating bands of
bubblesroughlyparallel to the wind direction(see Thorpe, 1984; Zedel and Farmer,
1991; and later section). Their persistencetime of 5-10 rains in a longshorecurrent
of 13 cms
-1impliesa lengthof about40-80m, or 7 to 12 timesthebandseparation.
Estimates of the distanceof the sonar from the edge of the visible record in the 90
kHz beam have been compared with the distance of the edge of the surf-zone
estimatedby observerson shore. The distancesare comparedin Figure 5. There is
considerableuncertaintyin the observers'estimates,and, as shown in Figure 6, the
sonographrecordsshow considerablevariability in range. The correspondence in the
two estimateshowever indicatesthat, to a first approximation,the sonarrange in the
shoreward direction is limited to that of the distanceof the outer edge of the surf-
zone from the rig. Rarely is there significant sound penetration into the surf-zone
itself. Within the surf zone the bubbles produced by breaking waves and the
sediment brought into suspensionstrongly attenuatethe acoustic signal. Similar
resultshave been observedby Smith (1993) using 195 kHz Doppler sonar(see also
Thorpe and Hall, 1993).
Evidence of this attenuationcan be found in Figure 6. The record is similar to that
of Figure 2 (obtainedsome 11 hours later on the previoustide) except that the 90
kHz sonarrange is twice abruptlyreducedby about 35 m. Attenuationis preceded
by the appearanceof filamentarybands(markedby arrows)emanatingfrom the high
frequency surface wave lines. The filaments appear sequentially, those first to
appear being furthest from the sonar, subsequentfilaments appearing from later
surface wave lines some 4-5 m further off-shore. The filaments are themselves
advectedby subsequentwaves. They generallypersistfor some 35 s, or 6-8 wave
periods, before their signal is lost. These filaments appear to be due to groups of
waves breaking and leaving bubble clouds (the scatterers which compose the
filaments) in the water. The bubble clouds themselves scatter and attenuate the
signal,and contributeto the lossin signalrange. Subsequent lossof signalfrom the
filaments (i.e. the bubble clouds)seemslikely to be due to soundattenuationcaused
by sedimentlifted from the bed. The signallevel is graduallyreestablishedsome30-
40 s later, with a dark scattering region remaining at the approximate
118 Wave and DispersionStudies

o oo/

• •o


40 60 •o ioo 120


Figure5. The variationof therangeof the edgeof the surf-zonefromthe sonarasjudgedby

visual observationsversusthe maximum range obtainedby the 90 kHz sonar. Different
symbolsareusedfor tideson differentdays.Verticalbarsindicatethepredicted

-40 •


Figure6. Sonograph
asin Figure2 showing
depthat sonar- 2.0
Thorpe et al. 119

location of the strongestof the original filaments, presumablydue to the continuing

presenceof small sound-scattering bubblesafter the return of a significantproportion
of the sediment to the sea bed. The mean fall speed of the sand grains composing
the sedimentwasabout3 cms-1 which,in the meanwaterdepthof the filaments,
1.3m, would lead to their removal in about 45 s. Bubble clouds observed in coastal
waterscontainbubblesof 50gm radius,or less, (Johnsonand Cooke, 1979) which
riseat 5 mms-1,or less,andpersistfor several
Changes in sonar range like those shown in Figure 6 were common in windy
conditions,but were not generallyas large. Figure 7 containsevidenceof a structure
or patternof lower frequencythan the waves in the period precedingthe reductionin
range (marked at A), a structure containing 4-6 waves, propagating with
approximatelythe same speedas the waves but at a speedwhich is clearly reduced
as it approachesshore. The position of the Langmuir bandsand the maximum range
are moved by these patterns as they pass. Such patterns are generally transient,
appearing together 3-10 times before loosing coherence, but occasionally and
particularly when observationswere made in lower wind speeds, the patterns are
more persistentin their recurrence. Figures 8 and 9 show further examples. The
structuremodulatesthe limit of sonarrangeover distancesof 2-3 m and at speedsof
37 + 5 and45 + 9 cms-• in Figures8 and9 respectively.
at times when the strengthof the targetsapproachingshoreare most intense.

40 •

• TTHK,m[n.

Figure7. Sonograph
asin Figure2. Wind7.5ms4 from180ø.Waterdepthat
sonar= 1.7m. Note the appearancein the 90 kI-Iz record (below) of diffuse scatteringregions
markedby arrowsat about2 and9 mins into the record which move towardsshore,migrating
throughthe bandsassociatedwith Langmuir circulation at approximately constant range to
form the edge of the sonar
120 Wave and DispersionStudies





IO 5

.• TIHœ,min. ,

Fi•ur•8. Sono•raph
asinFi•ur•2. Wind4 ms-i from230oafterwinds
8 m s-1 30 rains•arli•r. W•t•r d•pthat sonar- 2.5m.Th• 90 kHz sono•r•ph(below)showsth•
of • p•tt•rnwith• p•riodi½it¾
of som•! 6s½ont•inin•
•bout5 w•ws •nd ½•usin•
movementof the edge of the sonarrange.

so •


lO 5

• TIHœ,m[n.

9. Sohograph
2.Wind3 ms-1from236ø.Water
sonar= 3.2m.The90 kHz record(below)showsa patternof bandsin low windconditions.
few scatterers
whicharevisiblein the80 kHz beamandindicate
Thorpe et al. 121

These patternsappear to be causedby wave groupsapproachingshore. For example,

in Figure
9, Cp= 4.43ms-1andca= 15.15ms-1,sothat(1) givesc = 4.25ms-1 and,
sinceT is measuredas 2.27 s, )• = 9.65 m. We can then estimatethe componentof
group velocity towards shore,

•- 1+•sinh 2kh (3)
as 8.6 ms-1 whichcompares with the speedof bandedtargetsassociatedwith the
low-frequencypatternnearthesonar,8.0 ms-1, measured
fromits slopein Figure9.
(Becauseof the 'deafening'of the 90 kHz sonarand the loss of short-rangesignal,
this may be an underestimate). Use of (2) allows the estimationof k near the edge
of the sonarrange (near 140 m in Figure 9) where h = 0.7 m. Since the component
of wavelength parallel to the beach is conserved, we can then estimate the
wavelength normal to the beach at the edge of sonar range and hence find Cn, since
theperiodis known. Use of (3) thenallowsan estimateof Cgnto be madeat this
secondlocation,2.36 ms-1, whichcompares well with that measured from the
sonograph, 2.38 ms-1, supporting the hypothesisthat the patternsare indeed
associatedwith the onshorepropagationof groupsof waves.
The small amplitude theory which accountsfor the effect of radiation stressunder
wave groups (Longuet-Higgins and Stewart, 1962) predicts, however, that a
maximum current in a direction oppositeto the direction of propagationof the wave
group occursat the positionof maximumset-downat the locationof maximum wave
amplitude in the group. If the strongesttargets forming the pattern are indeed
associatedwith the highest waves in the group, an offshore componentof current
would be expectedat this location. Insteadthe offshoredisplacementis a maximum,
and the maximum offshore current appearsto precedethe strongesttargets (i.e. the
highest waves). Whilst an interpretationof the patterns as being caused by wave
groups seems presently the most plausible, a more thorough study needs to be
undertaken to examine, for example, whether the bands could be produced by
interferenceof different waves, perhapsby the progressivemodification of the wave
spectrumas the outer edgeof the surf-zoneis approached,or by the evolutionof long
swell waves approachingshore(see, for example,Madsen, Mei and Savage,1970).
Figure 8 (some 6 min into the record) illustrates abrupt changesin range which
contrast in structure from those noted in Figures 6 and 7; the original range is not
reestablished. In these conditions the tidal movement of the maximum sonar range
generally follows the rising or falling tide but with abrupt backward steps
superimposed at 5-10 min intervals.


We have here focused attention on the variety of signals which are visible in the
In windyconditions
8 ms-1)patterns
with Langmuircirculationpersistingfor 5-10 mins are
122 Wave and DispersionStudies

and sonar offers a means to study the effect of variable depth on the pattern of
circulation. Higher frequencytargetsconsistentwith surfacegravity wavesand wave
groupscan also be seen. The testsapplied,namely whetherthe featuressatisfythe
dispersionrelation, serveto illustratethe wealth of information,both temporaland
spatial,containedin the sonarrecords. Thesetests,however,assumethe wavesare
linear and monochromatic,are able to adjust and conform to the dispersionrelation
even though the water depth is decreasing,and ignore the presenceof longshore
currents (generally valid since these are much less than the estimatedlongshore
of apparent
phasespeed,Cp). Methodsto providemorecomprehensive
objective analysis and tests of the digital data set are being developed. The
maximum range of the sonarbeam pointing towards shore is modulatedby wave
breaking (Figure 6) and by wave groups,and limited to a range prescribedby the
presenceof sound-attenuating sediment. (The techniquemay be more effective in
studyingwave breakingwithin the surf zone on a gravel beachwhere less sediment
is carriedinto suspension). The presenceor absenceof wave groupsincidenton the
surf zone and the location of their breaking are central to the dynamicsof the surf
zone and to the radiationof wavesfrom it, particularlyto surf beats(Symondset at.,
1982; Guza and Thornton, 1985). The observationspoint to the intennittency of
incidentwave groupsand demonstratea novel and powerful tool with which to study
the offshoreregion.
Outside the surf zone persistentslow-movingfeatureswere sometimesdetectedin
the up-beachbeam. These were aligned approximatelyin the wind directionand are
the subjectof the secondstudyreportedhere.


The Experiment

In regions and at times where bubbles are generated at the sea surface, either
uniformly as in heavy rain or randomly by breaking wind-waves in deep water,
accumulationof bubbles occurs in regions of surface convergenceand subsurface
downwelling. These regions are detectedby side-scansonar, and the resulting
sonographsthereforeprovide 'maps',in range and time, of the patternsof surface

The central aim of the experimentwas to concurrentlyinvestigatethese patterns,

and to studythe dispersionof dye and dieseloil plumes,in the southernNorth Sea
(52ø N, 2ø E). The water column is unstratifiedover its 45 m depthand is subjectto
reaching1 m s-1. The seabedis flat andsandy.The sameweighted
rig frame as detailed in the earlier sectionon waves approachingshore (minus
vertical pole) was usedto carry the sonars,and was deployedon the sea bed by a
vessel(Figure 10). Once the rig was in position,the load line was detatchedfrom
the vessel, and the latter then anchored on a two-point mooring some 50
Thorpe et al. 123

(horizontally) from the rig by its bow anchors. The rig remainedconnectedto the
vesselby a 200 m cable, poweringthe sonars,two inclinometersand a compass,and
relaying their signals for real time display and digital recording. The two-point
mooring, and the cable connection to the vessel, limited the safe duration of the
deploymentto a tidal half-cycle. The rig was then recoveredand, once the tide had
turned, was redeployedas daylight permitted. Four sea trials were conductedin all
over May to September1991, yieldingfifteen sonardeployments,amountingto some
sixty hoursof data.
Further practicalwork was also undertakenfrom July to September1992, on board a
different vessel capable of a four-point mooring. This permitted the rig to be
deployed over many tidal half-cycles, increasing the amount of data the total
standsat over 150 hours and yielding data for the low currentscloseto slack tide.
In principle, the contribution which processesidentified in this extensive sonar data
set make to the observeddispersionof the neutrally buoyantrhodamineB dye, or of
the (buoyant) diesel, may be ascertainedby appropriatemodelling. (The plume
dispersionexperimentand its resultswill be reportedelsewhere).
The 80 and 90 kHz sonarswere usedin side-scanmode, inclined up at 20ø to the
base of the rig and pointing at right anglesto one another. For all the deployments,
rig inclinations off the horizontal of less than 10ø were achieved. The beams were
some35ø wide in the vertical and 3ø in the horizontal,isonifyingnarrow sectionsof
water which are some 3 m acrossat the surface,and which pointed away from the
vessel. The pulse repetition rate was 4 Hz, yielding a maximum horizontal beam
rangeof 180 m; the signal was rarely distinguishable from noise at this range. For
most deployments,the shearbetweenthe vesseland the rig as the latter was lowered
was successfullyexploited, so as to leave the 90 kHz beam pointing nearly normal,
and the 80 kHz beam nearly parallel, to the mean flow.

I X •/ • '-•<, ./ I /"•,, •
•----\•.L•• •---•,.• " '""/ •-'•"• DYE
\ ß •:-+_-_-_-_-----
, ---"•,• x• x• • F,,
Ii If'",,.
•',./ /"••
\ \ •- x ,",. • •.i! /,_v/'•,•,

x ¾, - il /
\ \

Figure 10. Sketch showing the site and sonarbeam orientationsin the North Sea experiment.
Note that a narrow beam upward-lookingsonarwas employedon the rig in addition to the two
124 Wave and DispersionStudies

Environmental data included current and wave measurements from current meters
and a waveriderbuoy respectively,deployedabout 1 km from the rig. Weatherdata
recorded on the vessel included wind, sea surface and wet/dry bulb temperatures,
and the solar heat flux.

(a) Currentspeedand direction;

speeds rangingfrom10 to 110cms-1. For
of 30 cms-1 or more,whichholdsfor all butsome20 minutes
slack tide, the currentis uni-directionalalong a line 20ø to the right of the meridian.
The currentshearwas measuredby employinginstrumentsat the surface,1/3 and 2/3
depth,and by usingan ADCP to samplethe top half of the water column.

(b) Windspeedanddirection;
An anemometerand wind vane mountedat a high point on the vesselrecordedwind
from0 to 12m s-1,whenaveraged
over30 second
adjusted to 10 m reference height, with the direction predominantly close to

(c) Waveheightandperiod;
Hourly averagesof the heightand periodof the dominantwave grouprangedfrom 30
to 130 cm, and 2.9 to 6.2 s respectively.

(d) Air-sea temperature;

The mercury-in-glassair temperaturemeasuredover the trials rangedfrom 9.9 - 18.7
øC, while that of the sea surfacerangedfrom 9.5 to 17.3 øC. The temperatureof the
air relative to the searangedfrom -2.8 to +2.9 øC.

(e) Precipitationand seastate;

Rain was observedduring two deployments,heavily for one and as drizzle for the
other. Sea states varied from near mirror calm to agitation sufficiently great to
prevent deploymentof the sonarrig and the plume discharges. Windrows of foam
were seenclearly by eye in trials in May and June, 1991.


For most deployments,the 80 kHz sonar was directed up-current,hence yielding

information on the advection of bubble clouds by near-surface currents, and so
supplementingthe current meter data (Figure 11). The sonographsof the cross-
current sonar, usually the 90 kHz, of the side-scan pair, reveal strongly
backscatteringbands (Figures. 12, 13) where surfaceconvergenceoccurs,and so
providespace-timeplotsof surfaceconvergence.Many of the featuresare linear and
with a velocitycomponent
alongthe beamclosein valueto Vy, the
speedwith which a bubbleband alignedperfectlystraightwith wind, and advected
passivelyby the current,would
Thorpe et al. 125

• g lB lg 28 25; 30 35; 40 4•
• tO- 17•.g21•1Jd&y91
•ormr ß O0 t. y off8et8 - 0 •lrm, L• •

Figure11. Sonograph
recordof surfacerangeagainsttime for the 80 kHz up-currentsonar.
Wind7 m s-1from160+ 15ø.leftof thesonar
from59 to 86cms4 overtheduration
of thesonograph,
from 160 to 172ø, as measuredtowardthe right of the beam(beamdirection25ø true). The
zonesof missingdataweredueto a deficiencyin theVCR's supplyvoltage.

lottar - 90 t, ¾ off•;.t$ - 0 mln•, 2:S m

Figure 12. Cross-currentsonographfor the sameperiod as Figure 11. Wind and current
relativeto the beam,adjustedfor the 90ø differencebetweensonars(seeFigure10),
are now, respectively,from 70 ø, and toward 110 to 98ø, as measuredleft of the
126 Wave and DispersionStudies

sino••)' (4)
where or, 13are the anglesof the windrow (that is, the wind direction) and current
relative to the sonar beam, respectively. These features are identified as bubble
clouds accumulating in the surface convergenceregions of Langmuir circulation.
Convergenceregions,which could be detectedin the beam for severalminutes,are
evident and, given the currentspeeds,thesepersistencetimes correspondto lengths
of up to 200 m. Other featuresthat are not linear or are discontinuousare also
sometimesprevalent. These are absentin the deep water, sometimesstratified, low
current environment of Loch Ness, and therefore appear to be related to turbulence
generatedby the tidal flow over the sea bed. Further supportfor this hypothesishas
been obtainedfrom aircraftphotographsshowingevidenceof sedimentcloudswith a
scale, comparableto the water depth, similar to that of the irregular patternsseen in
the SOhographs.

Data ProcessingandPreliminaryAnalysis

Techniqueshave been developedto reducethe digitisedsonographsto their essential

features. Firsfly, the image is low-pass filtered and edge-enhanced,to reduce its
fine-resolutionpixel distributionsto the "shapes"immediately obvious to the eye.
By supplyingthresholdvalues of intensity (as a percentageof the image by area)
and shapeperimeter(as a pixel number), theseSOhograph shapesare further filtered,
and the remainder are then collapsed or "skeletised"to lines, using a technique
developedby Mr. Cur6 (Thorpeand Cur6, 1994). An exampleconstructed from the
sonograph,Figure 13, is shownin Figure 14. Necessarilyinherentin this shape
identification approachis a trade-off betweenclearly delimiting the featureson one
hand, and resolvingfeaturesof the smallestlengthand time scaleson the other.

Since the tidal current is non-steady, at times changing steadily by as much as

1 cm s-1 per minute,the skeletonimageis transformed
ontoa two-dimensional
spatial field, using the currentmeter data. The length and time scalesof the classof
features of interest, and their direction relative to the sonar (a) and wind may then
be computed. To calculateinter-featurestatisticssuch as the mean feature spacing,
D, as well as to permit modelling of the dispersionof buoyanttracersdue to the
observedsurfaceconvergence pattern- the featuresare approximatedas "frozen"in
the field over all time t, to < t < to + At (Figure 15). We now postulatethat the
features possessa spectrumof lifetimes centred at, and narrow with respect to, a
"characteristic"lifetime, x. For At > x, the frozen field approximationwill beinvalid
when taken over the whole field, but remains applicable for the computation of
In thisway,we
circumventhaving to postulatethe existenceof, and to model, sourcesand sinks of
Langmuircirculationoutsidethe sonar
Thorpe et al. 127

:18 49

•on•r - I• t, y off•et.• - • nlrm, •3 n

Figure 13. Another cross-currentsonograph,illustratingthe variety of patternsseen,

including someof the nonlinearand discontinuousfeaturesthat have been observed.
Wind 10 m s-1 swingingfrom 85 to 95 + 15ø overthe durationof the sonograph,
measuredfrom right of the beam. The surfacecurrent systematicallyincreasedfrom
64 to 81 cms-1 overthe sonograph
time,whileits headingswungfrom 97 to 104%as
measuredtowardthe right of the beam (beamdirection98ø true).

tl•e (•lrmtes)

Figure 14. Skeletisationof Figure

128 Wave and DispersionStudies

Figure 15. Tracermovementwith respectto the frozen field windrows,illustratingthe degree

of convergenceinduced by Langmuir circulation. The thicknessof the frozen field skeleton
featureshas been exaggeratedto distinguishthem from the tracers.

The frozen field is of kilometre scaling and is generatedfrom Figure 14 between t = 16:26
rains. and t = 33:29 rains. The crosscurrentsonaris situatedout-of-pictureat the origin, and is
directed along the y-axis. The sonographskeletonsare thus generatedas the frozen field is
advectedby the mean currentthroughthe beam.

For this figure, the windrow lifetime prescribedfor the tracerswas made infinite. Note that if a
•acer is only aligned with a windrow in one direction, and lies further than half the windrow
spacingfrom it, it is not assigneda Langmuir circulation convergencevelocity. This is to
prevent net •acer inflow at the frozen field boundaries.

A number of length and time scalesmay be evaluateddirectly from this spatial field
(Thorpe et al., 1994). The mean orientationof each featureallows highly nonlinear
or "off-wind" features to be excluded, and the mean over the ensemble of many
features to be computed. A value of 24ø to the right of the wind, with standard
deviation20% has been obtainedaveragingover a numberof sonographs.This value
does not necessarilyimply a significantdeviation from the measuredwind direction,
as from (4), it could alternativelybe due to a mean feature advectionvelocity that
differs from the measuredmean near-surfaceflow. Indeed, we shouldanticipatethat
this be so, as the mean surface flow is inflated in the presence of Langmuir
circulation, due to the additional downwind current in the vicinity of a windrow
(Pollard, 1977).

The scales of features over two representativewind speed regimes are shown in
Table 1. The "longest"featuresare thosewhich exceedthe mean by more than one
Thorpe et al. 129

TABLE 1. Showingthe scalesof the observedbands

wind length separation

ms-! m m

all largest all largest

6.3 + 0.5 49 + 23 87 +45 22 + 5 26 + 7
9.5 + 0.5 63_+ 15 128 + 37 25 + 3 39 + 4

By postulatingthat the featurespossessa spectrumof lengthscentredat, and narrow

with respect to a characteristiclength, L, a simple analytical model of pattern
advectionthroughthe sonarbeam has been developedin (Thorpe et al., 1994). (The
length, L, is longer than that following from a frozen field hypothesis since the
model seeks to detect the decay that occurs before the bands pass completely
= 9.5 m s-l), thismodel
yields estimates of L and x, the lifetime of the bubble bands, of 516 + 351 m and
274 + 69 s respectively for the longest features; 149 + 26 m and 206 + 31 s
respectivelywhen featuresof all lengthsare included. The lower wind speeddata is
too scattered to permit a usefully accurate estimate of L, but is consistent with
shorterlifetimes of 139 + 108 s for the longestfeatures,and 113 + 56 s for the full
set of feature lengths. The high wind speed L/D cellular aspect ratio is thus
estimatedto be 13 + 9 for the longest,and 6 + 1.5, for all the featuresrespectively.
We note that the estimatesof lifetime probably understatethe persistenceof the
Langmuir circulation and are much less than similar estimates made in the low
current environment of Loch Ness.


A deterministicmodel has been developedto simulatehorizontal dispersiondue to

the Langmuir circulation inferred from the sonographs. Full details are reported in
Thorpe et al. (1994). The techniquefollows the conceptsof Langmuir circulation
diffusionproposedby Csanady(1983) and Failer and Auer (1987), and the dispersion
model of Thorpe and Cur6 (1993). The dispersionof buoyant tracer particles over
time scales of between two minutes to an hour, and hence over (longitudinal)
distancesof 50 m - 2 kin, is computedin an absolutesense- that is, the dependence
of the dispersion statisticson their locality in time and space is smoothedout to
accumulate the statistics of the whole horizontal area concerned. This area is the
"skeletisedfrozen field". The skeletonisedsonographsthat have been used as input
have been taken from times when the bubble band featureswere both highly regular,
and consistentwith the presenceof Langmuir circulationalone, and from times when
bottom-generatedturbulenceappearedto be presentas well. As the model described
here is for floating particles,and the bubble cloudsthat mark the convergencezones
have a scatteringintensitywhich decaysrapidly with depth (Thorpe, 1984), we have
ignored details of the vertical structure of the surface convergence currents
130 Wave and DispersionStudies

running the model. Similarly, measuresof the contributionof wind-inducedcurrent,

or of tidal shear, to the mean surface flow are implicitly included by using the
measured (1 m) surface current in the model. The tracers are released from a subset
of grid points over the field, chosen so as to both optimise the time each tracer
spendsin the field, and to keep the tracerdensitybroadly constant. The tracersthen
dispersein the field, while the latter is advected (with negligible horizontal shear)
by the mean currentthroughthe sonarbeam.
Each tracer's motion is thus the vector sum of its motion relative to the field, and the
motion of the field relative to the sonar. The tracer motion relative to the field
(Figure 15) is determined by prescribing it a velocity component parallel to the
wind, to allow for drift at the surface relative to the features, and a component
perpendicularto the wind, directed toward the nearestfeature, to reflect Langmuir
circulation convergence. The latter componentis set using estimatesfor Loch Ness
(Thorpe and Cur6, 1993).

With respect to the frozen field, the tracer thus moves downwind and toward the
nearestfeature. Once captured,it remainsin the featureuntil it reachesthe feature's
end, or until the feature develops an appreciableoff-wind orientation, or until the
time for which the tracer has "preferred"the feature over any other exceedsx. The
calculation of the horizontal diffusivity follows from the first and secondmomentsof
the excursionsof the tracersfrom their respectivestartingpoints: selectedresults are
presentedin the following section. We lastly note that when the model is extended
to 3-D, non-floatingtracerswill escapefrom the surfaceconvergencezonesprimarily
by being carried below the surface in the downwelling current associated with
Langmuir circulation. The tracers may then move across the cells, perhaps
exchanging with neighbouring cells in the process. The lateral dispersion will
therefore be increased.


An example of a model simulationis now detailed, with the current, wind and sonar
data corresponding to Figures. 13 to 15 as input. The downwindtracerdrift was set
to 0.5% Wl0, rising to 0.8% Wl0 on captureby a windrow;the lifetime was set to 10
mins. A total of 205 tracers were released at separationsnot less than 7.5 m.
Figures 16 and 17 illustratethe resultingdispersion.
The mean time for first capture in a windrow was 266 s, while the mean time
between all capture events (that is, including the first capture and any subsequent
recaptures, following release from a windrow) was 172 s. The latter number is
smaller due to those features that meander in space at a rate sufficiently high so as
to "eject"their capturedtracersfor a shorttime. The mean durationof a capturewas
85 s, while the mean proportionof time spentcapturedper tracer was 0.30. The
mean windrow preferencetime was 209 s, but on an averageof 0.49 occasionsper
tracer, the preference time reached the lifetime (10 mins, as specified above),
causingthe tracer to exit the
Thorpe et al. 131


Figure 16. The excursionsof tracersfrom their releasepoints, as shownin the (inertial) sonar
frame (wind and current as given for Figure 13) with kilometre scaling. This illustrates the
degree of dispersion induced by the Langmuir circulation, superimposedon strong tidal
advection. The tracersin Figure 15 are reintroducedinto the frozen field where necessary,to
ensureeach excursiontakesplace over the full diffusion time.



i i i i j i -

Figure 17. A graphof the lateral variance,computedfrom the excursionsof Figure 16, against
diffusiontime (wind and currentas givenfor Figure 13).

The lateral power law and diffusivity may be computed from Figure 17.
Approximating the time dependence of the lateral variance0 2 over the whole
diffusiontimeby a monomial,0 2 o•tn thebestfit powerlaw indexn is 1.3. The
lateral diffusivity K, defined
132 Wave and DispersionStudies

1 do 2
K=-- • , (5)
2 dt

is 0.11 cm2 s-1 after45 minutes.The graphdoes,however,indicate

index is prone to decreasewith time, with pronouncedchange close to the mean
time for first capture by a windrow, and again after the tracers have, on average,
interactedwith severalwindrows. Simulationsrun under the samemodel parameter
settings, but conducted using data from other deployments of the sonar, have
produced diffusivities an order of magnitude smaller, in particular at lower wind
(near5 ms-•). The observed
of theassociated
index, n, over the different data sets was 0.1. These estimatesof diffusivity are
relatively high comparedto those values reported at similar wind speedsfor caged
dispersion (Thorpe and Cur6, 1993) (as is the power law index), and for the
dispersion induced by a numerical model of windrow meandering and splitting
Waller and Auer, 1987). This is perhapsunsurprising,given that either the tracers
(in the former model) or the convergenceregions themselves(in the latter model)
are relatively constrained compared to the model outlined here. In its range of
output diffusivities, our model demonstratesa variability more in keeping with
observationsthan the modelsof Csanady(1973) and Failer and Auer (1987).
The longitudinal dispersionmay be similarly parameterised,although it cannot be
measured practically in a continuous dye release experiment such as that of the
North Sea trials. In the model simulations conducted so far, for downwind drift
speeds between 0% and 1.5% Wlo (rising to between 0.1% and 2.5% Wlo
respectively on capture by a windrow), and lifetimes of 5 to 20 mins, the
longitudinal variance has not been observed to rise significantly greater than its
lateral analogue,and can be some 50% less.
The dependence of the two horizontal dispersion variances, power laws and
diffusivities on the wind speed will be evaluated, and the sensitivity of these
quantities to the prescribed lifetime, downwind drift and Langmuir circulation
convergencecurrent assessed.The model will also be extendedto computerelative
diffusion (Csanady, 1973), for direct comparisonwith the diesel plume studies
conducted concurrently. The results will be reported elsewhere. The lateral
dispersion example given here is for parameter values close to our current best


The objective of this paper is to demonstratethe potential of side-scan sonar in

making observationsof waves near shoreand of dispersionin shelf seas. We have
providedexamplesof measurements which can be made, for exampleof wavelength,
wave speedsand periods, of particle motions in waves moving towards shore, of
wave group structure,of patternsof surfaceconvergenceassociatedwith
Thorpeet al. 133

circulation, of the time and spacescalesof this circulation, and of the diffusion of
floating particles as a consequenceof its presence. Some of these measurements
and the information they carry, especially about Langmuir circulation, axe novel.
The sonaxsaxe uncalibrated and the signal processingis unsophisticated. Much
could be improved with consequent increase in information. There is much
information yet to be gleaned about the dynamics of the near-surfaceprocessesusing
high-frequencysonax. Above all, it is the informationobtainedsimultaneouslyabout
spaceand time scales of motion in the spectralwindow of the instrumentation,and
the visual images (the sonographs)which it produces,which establish side-scan
sonaxas a suchpowerful tool to advancethe scientific knowledge and insight into
the workings of the seas.

Acknowledgments:We axegratefulto ProfessorH Peregrineand Dr G Watson for

helpful commenton the beach studies. Able assistancein the collectionof data was
provided by M Cure, A Crawford and J Jackson. The work was carried out with
supportfrom the US Office of Naval ResearchundergrantnumberN00014-92-3-1288.
The work in the southern North Sea work forms paxt of an EEC MAST funded
collaborationwith the DTI Warren SpringLaboratory,for which we axemost grateful.
A preliminaryaccountof the surf-zonestudiesis given by Thorpeand Hall (1993).


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Thorpe, S.A. The effect of Langmuir circulation on the distribution of bubbles caused by
breakingwaves. J. Fluid Mech. 142, 151-170, 1984.
Thorpe, S.A. Measurementswith a Automatically Recording Inverted Echo Sounder;ARIES
andthe bubbleclouds.J. Phys. Oceanogr.16, 1462-1478, 1986.
Thorpe, S.A. Bubble cloudsand the dynamicsof the upper ocean. Q.J.R.Met.Soc., 118,1-22,
Thorpe, S.A., M.B. Belloul and Hall, A.J. Internal waves and whitecaps.Nature, 330, 740-742,
Thorpe, S.A. and M.S. Cur•. One-dimensional dispersion in a lake inferred from sonar
observations,in Mixing and Transportin the Environment edited by K. Bevan, P. Chatwin
and J. Millbank, 17-28, J. Wiley & SonsLtd, 1994.
Thorpe, S.A., M.S. Cur•, A. Graham and A.J. Hall. Langmuir circulationand dispersion;sonar
observationsof space and time variability. Accepted for publication in J. Atrnos.Oceanic
Technol., 1994.
Thorpe, S.A. and A.J. Hall. The characteristicsof breaking waves, bubble clouds, and near-
surfacecurrentsobservedusingside-scansonar.ContinentalShelfRes. 1,353-384, 1983.
Thorpe, S.A. and A.J. Hall. Near-shoreside-scansonarstudies.J. Atrnos.OceanicTechnol., 10,
778-783, 1993.
Thorpe, S.A., A.J. Hall, A.R. PackwoodandA.R. Stubbs. The use of towed side-scansonar to
investigateprocessesnear the sea surface. ContinentalShelfResearch,4, 597-608, 1985.
Thorpe, S.A., A.J. Hall and S. Hunt. Bouncing internal bores of Ardmucknish Bay. Nature,
306,167-169, 1983.
Thorpe, S.A. and A.R. Stubbs. Bubblesin a freshwaterlake. Nature, 279, 403-405, 1979.
Vagle, S. and D.M. Farmer. The measurement of bubble size distribution by acoustic
backscatter. J. Atmos. Ocean. Tech•, 9, 630-644, 1992.
Zedel, L. and D.M. Farmer. Organised structuresin subsurfacebubble clouds: Langmuir
circulationin the opensea.J. Geophys.Res. 96, (C5), 8889-8900,

Detailed Cross-Frontal Structure of a Tidal

Front in the Kii Channel, Japan
T. Yanagi, T. Yamamoto,T. IshimaruandT. Saino


Intensive field observationsof the vertical distributionof water temperature,salinity,

chlorophylla, turbidity and currentacrossa tidal front in the Kii Channel,Japanwas
carried out with the use of a towed CTD and ADCP on 2 July 1991. A distincttidal
front was observed between the well-mixed region in the northern part and the
stratified region in the southernpart of the Kii Channel. The local maximran of
chlorophyll a was found in the subsurfacelayer of the stratifiedregion and the local
maximum of turbidity in the middle layer of the well-mixed region. The surface
convergence was found to be situated between the well-mixed region and the
stratified region. The well-mixed water intrudes into the subsurfacelayer of the
stratifiedregion and the strongwestwardcurrentcore is found in the subsurfacelayer
of the well-mixed region


A tidal front is generatedin a transitionregion betweenvertically well-mixed water

where the tidal stirring is strong and the stratified water where the tidal mixing is
relatively weak and the effect of surface heating is important. A tidal front is
consideredto play an importantrole in material transportin a coastalsea. However,
its quantitative role in the material transport has not been revealed because the
detailed flow structure around a tidal front has only been recently by Lwiza et al.
(1991). The measurementof flow structurearounda tidal front is very difficult as the
front migratesdependingon the tidal stage.

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages135-144
Copyright1996by theAmericanGeophysical Union
136 Cross-Frontal Structure of a Tidal Front

Yanagi and Okada (1993) revealedthat a tidal front is developedin the northernpart
of the Kii Channel, the Seto Inland Sea, Japanwith use of NOAA 9 infrared image
andthistidalfrontis locatedwherethevalueof log (H/U3) is about2.5 (whereH is
thewaterdepthin metersandU theamplitude of M2 tidalcurrent in ms-1).
In this paper, the detailed cross-frontal structure across a tidal front at the Kii
Channel,Japan is revealedwith use of towed CTD and ADCP (AcousticDoppler
Current Profiler) data.

135o00'E 135ø20'E


Tomogashima. Strait

,: © S9-•
34o00'N /
:, ©s'•o

00 © s12

s7• -

,(km) , •,,

L•': eS9
o !•o

\, (km)

Figure 1. ObservationStationsin the Kii Channel. Broken line and full line denotethe bottom
contourwith the numberof depthin
Yanagiet al. 137


The field studywas undertaken

in the Kii Channel(Figure1) by RV "Tansei-Maru"
of the Ocean ResearchInstitute,University of Tokyo, from 27 June to 2 July 1991.
The synopticdistributionof watertemperature, salinityand densityfrom Station$6
to Station S13 (Figure 1) were recordedon 27 and 28 Juneto define the positionof
the tidal front.

Detailed distribution of water temperature,salinity, density, fluorescence,beam-

transmittance and current across the front was recorded from Stations FI to F2 normal
to the front between 12:00 and 13:45 on 2 July 1991 (intermediatestate from spring
to neap). The timeof slackwaterfromfloodto ebb(i.e. HW) at Tomogashima
predictedby Maritime SafetyAgencywas 13:01 on 2 July 1991. The horizontal
distribution of surface (5 m) water temperature and salinity were continuously
measured with the use of a thermistor and a salinometer. The vertical distributions of
water temperature,salinity, beam transmittanceand fluorescencewere observed
using the OCTOPUS system(Ishimaru et al., 1984) descendingand ascending
in a yo-yofashionfrom the RV "Tansei-Maru"with a speedof 2 knots.
Simultaneously,the ADCP (R.D. Instruments,300 kHz) was towed and current
profile recordswere obtainedevery 3 minutes(i.e. approximately190 m in the
horizontal direction and 2 m in the vertical direction). The instrument was used in
bottomtrackingmode,in which the ADCP measuresthe apparentvelocityof the sea
floor and vectorially subtractsthis from the measuredwater velocity. The water
velocity is thereforemeasuredrelative to the sea floor. The raw currentdata were
usinga boxfilter with thehorizontal
lengthof 380 m andthedepthof 4 m.


The synopticvertical distributionof water temperature,salinity and density from

Station S6 to Station S13 are shown in Figure 2. The vertically well-mixed region
existsnear Tomogashima Strait, aroundStationsS6 and S7, and the stratifiedregion
in the Kii Channel. A tidal front is developedbetweenStationsS7 and S8 shownby
an arrowin Figure2 whichwas confumedby the existenceof surfaceconvergence of
drifting material on the sea surface.
The horizontaldistributionof surfacewater temperatureand salinityfrom StationsF1
to F2 are shownin Figure3. Water temperature decreases from 23 to 21.5 øC and
salinityincreasesfrom31.5to 32.0pssacrossthefrontshownby an arrowin Figure3
wherewe canobservethe gatheringof driftingmaterialand foam on the seasurface
by eye from the vesselas shownin Figure4. The detailedverticaldistributionof
water temperature,salinity, density,beam-transmittance and chlorophylla from
StationF1 to StationF2 are shownin Figure 5 (a) to (e). The vertically well-mixed
regionexistsnearStationF2 andstratifiedregionnearStationFl. The mostturbid
water existsin the middlelayer of the well-mixedregionand the local maximum
138 Cross-Frontal Structure of a Tidal Front

chlorophylla is foundin the subsurfacelayerof the stratifiedregion. This is the farst

time thatthe detailedcross-frontal
of chlorophylla andturbidityacrossa
tidal front have presentedalthough water temperature,salinity and density
distributionhas been observedusing an undulatingCTD system(Simpsonet aI.,
1978, Allen et aI., 1980).

stn.6 7•, 8 9 10 11 12 13


0 20 '•26,•

•so '
Figure2. Vertical distributionsof water temperature,salinity and densityfrom StationS6 to
StationS13. An arrow denotesthe positionof a tidal
Yanagi et al. 139







3] •
F2 F1

12:00- 13:45,2,July,1991 0 1
l I I


Figure 3. Horizontal distributionsof water temperatureand salinity 5 below the sea surface
from StationF1 to StationF2. An arrow denotesthe position of surfaceconvergenceshown in
Figure 4.

Figure 4. A surface convergenceaccompanyingwith a tidal front in the northern part of the

Kii Channel. An arrow showsthe positionof surfaceconvergence.The left side is and the right
side the vertically well-mixed
140 Cross-Frontal Structure of a Tidal Front

F2 stn.M stn. T, stn. S

60 m•, Temperature(øc)
12:00 - 13:45,2,July,1991 0

(b) 2 Stn.
M stn.
T• stn.


• 30


12:00- 13:45,2,July, 1991 0 1




2: 30



• ............... Sigma-T

12:00- 13:45,2,July,199! 0

Figure 5. The vertical distributions

of water temperature(a), salinity(b), density(c), beam-
Itansmittance(d) and chlorophylla (e) acrossa tidal front in the northernpart of the Kii
Channel. An arrowdenotesthe positionof surfaceconvergence shownin Figure
Yanagi et al. 141



•_ 30


Transmittance ( o/ o )

12:00- 13:45,2,July, 1991 0 1


(e) 1.0


20 • 0.8
0.8 0.6
0.6 ' 0.5




12:00- 13:45,2,July, 1991 0 1


Figure5 (continued).The verticaldistributionsof watertemperature (a), salinity(b), density

(c), beam-transmittance
(d) and chlorophylla (e) acrossa tidal front in the northernpart of the
Kii Channel. An arrow denotesthe positionof surfaceconvergenceshownin Figure 4.

The currentdata were averagedverticallyat each observedpoint and the vertically .

averaged(barotropic)eastwardand northwardvelocitiesare shownin the upperpart

of Figure6 (a) and (b), respectively.The northwardcurrentin the southernpartnear
StationF1 changesto southwardin the northernpart near StationF2 as shownin
Figure6(b). Suchspatialchangemay be considered to correspond to the temporal
changefrom flood (northwardcurrent)to ebb (southward current)aroundthe time of
13:01. We may treatsuchbarotropicvelocitiesas the tidal currentcomponent at this
time and subtract them from the observed current data. The detailed distribution of
the residual baroclinic eastward current (parallel to the front) and baroclinic
northwardcurrent(perpendicular to the front) acrossthe front are shownin Figure 6
(a) and (b), respectively.The ADCP dataare limitedto a maximumdepthof 28 m.
coreup to 10 cm s-1 (a frontaljet) is foundin the
subsurfacelayer of the well-mixed region and the surfacelayer of the stratified
region flows eastward(Figure 6a). This is in qualitativeagreementwith
142 Cross-Frontal Structure of a Tidal Front


F2 •



F- 30




12'00- 13:45,2,July,1991
0 1
t • I


0 • F1

10 20 20






12:00- 13:45,2,July,1991
0 1


Figure 6. The vertical distributionsof eastwardcurrent (a) and northwardcurrent(b) acrossa

tidal front in the northernpart of the Kii Channel. The shadowregionsdenotethe westwardor
southwardcurrent.An arrow denotesthe positionof surfaceconvergenceshownin Figure
Yanagi et al. 143


2•.0 22. ' (• ¸ stn. M

•-• --•> stn. T

z•-.•,• stn. S

m '5


31.0 31.5 32.0 32.5 33.0 33.5 34.0 34.5 35.0


Figure 7. T-S diagrassat StationsM, T and S.

geostrophicflow based on the density field. The surface layer of the well-mixed
region flows southward and that of stratified region northward and the surface
convergenceexists at the point shown by an arrow (which denote the position of
surface convergenceshown in Figure 4) between the well-mixed region and the
stratified region. The southward flow of the well-mixed region intrudes into the
subsurfacelayer of the stratified region. Such an intrusion is confirmed by T-S
diagram shown in Figure 7. The subsurfacewater at Station S within the stratified
region does not result from mixing of the surface and bottom water at Station S but
has the same TS characteristics as the sub surface water at Station M. Such cross-
frontal intrusionmay relate to the local maximum of chlorophyll a in the subsurface
layer of the stratifiedregion as shown in Figure 5 (e) when the northward intrusion
transportnutrients from the well-mixed region into the subsurfacelayer of stratified
region. This processwas also suggested(Takeoka et al., 1993) from the observations
of a tidal front at the Sea of Iyo in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan.

Discussion and Conclusion

We reveal the detailed cross-frontal structureof a tidal front at the northern part of
the Kii Channel. As for the frontaljet, Lwiza et al. (1991) showedthat the frontaljet
upto 15 cms-1is stronger
fides. Our observations
were undertakenin the intermediatestatefrom springto neap
with currents
in the frontaljet with currents
reaching10 cm s-1. Highercurrents
would be expectedduring springfides. The local maximum of turbidity in the
144 Cross-Frontal Structure of a Tidal Front

layer of the well-mixed region may result from the inorganic matter which are
suspendedby the strongtidal mixing becausesuchturbidity has low chlorophylla
value. On the other hand, the local maximum of chlorophyll a may result from the
light conditions,stabilityof the stratifiedregionand the horizontalsupplyof nutrients
from the well-mixed regionby the cross-frontalintrusionin the subsurfacelayer. The
cross-frontalintrusionis theoreticallydemonstratedby Garrett and Loder (1981) but
has not been observedin the field. The cross-frontalintrusionshownin Figure 6(b) is
the first evidence in the field because Lwiza et al. (1991) did not observe such cross-
frontal circulation across a tidal front in the North Sea.

Acknowledgments. The authorsexpresstheir sincerethanksto Dr. H. Takeoksof

Ehime University for his helpful discussionsand the crew of RV Tansei-Maru for
their help in the field observations. This study was partially supportedthrough
fundingfrom the Ministry of Education,Scienceand Culture,Japan.


Allen, C.M., J.H. Simpsonand R.M. Carson,The slxuctureand variability of shelf sea fronts as
observedby an undulatingCTD system.Oceanol.Acta,3, 59-68, 1980.
Garrett,C.J.R. andJ.W. Loder, Dynamical aspectsof shallow-seafronts. Phil. Trans.Roy. Sac.
London, A302, 563-581, 1981.
Ishimaru, T., H. Otobe, T. Saino, H. Hasumotoand T. Nakai, OCTOPUS, an octo parameter
underwatersensor,for use in biological oceanographystudies.J. Oceanagr.Sac. Japan, 40,
207-212, 1984.
Lwiza, K.M.M., D.G. BowersandJ.H.Simpson,Residual and tidal flow at a tidal mixing front
in the North Sea. ContinentalShelfRes., 11, 1379-1395, 1991.
SimpsonJ.H., C.M. Allen and N.C.G. Morris, Frontson the continentalShelf. J. Geophysical
Res., 83, 4607-4614, 1978.
Takeoka, H., O. Natsuda and T. Yamamoto, Processescausingthe chlorophyll a maximum in
the tidal front in Iyo-Nada, Japan.J. Oceanogr.Sac.Japan,49, 57-70, 1993.
Yanagi, T. and S. Okada, Tidal Fronts in the Seto Inland Sea. Memoirs of the Faculty of
Engineering, Ehime University, 12, 337-343,

A Field Investigationof Water Exchange

Between a Small Coastal Embayment and
an Adjacent Shelf
P. E. Holloway


A discussionis presentedof the flow structureand water exchangethrough the

entrance of Jervis Bay, a small coastal embaymentsituated on the east coast of
Australia. In an area of weak tidal flushing, low frequencycirculation is shown to
dominate the exchangeprocess. At a period of around 6 days, coastally trapped
wavesare thoughtto generateinternalKelvin waveswhich are shownto be capable
of causingsignificantexchangebetweenthe bay and shelf. The rate of exchangeis
enhancedwith increasing stratification. A background,or mean, flow also very
effectively flushesthe bay with inflow concentrated near the surfaceon the southern
side of the entrance and compensatingoutflow strongestnear the seabed on the
northern side of the bay entrance.


An importantpropertyof many coastalembaymentsis the rate at which water, and

dissolvedand particulate matter, is exchangedbetween the embaymentand the
adjacentcontinentalshelf. In this paper, the circulationthroughthe entranceof
Jervis Bay, a small coastalembaymentsituatedon the east coastof Australia, and
the resultingwater exchangeis investigatedthroughthe analysisof observational
data. The bay is being subjectedto increasingenvironmentalpressuresfrom local

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages145-158
Copyright1996by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion
A field Investigation




H,,tRE 8A Y

Figure1. Mapof JervisBayshowing

of moorings

developmentraising concernsabout the fate of potentiallyincreasinglevels of

sewage,suspended solids,and chemicalssuchas tributyltin. JervisBay receives
very little freshwaterinputfor mostof the year,is not subjected
to highevaporation,
andhasa weaktidalregime. Thisis in contrast to manyestuaries whichare fed by
freshwaterfiver input or high evaporation, with a resultingstronggravitationally
drivencirculation,and are oftensubjectedto strongtidal
Holloway 147

There are numerousstudiesreportedin the literature of the circulation and exchange

processesin estuaries. As classifiedby Hansenand Rattray (1966), estuariesare
generally influenced, to varying degrees,by tidal mixing and by gravitationally
induced circulation resulting from longitudinal density variations caused by river
input or high evaporation and being open to the ocean. Strong tidally driven
estuariestend to be vertically homogeneousso that exchange along the estuary is
dependanton longitudinaldispersionas found, for example,in the Mersey Estuary in
the United Kingdom (Bowden, 1965) and in the Bay of Fundy on Canada'seast coast
(Holloway, 1981). In contrast, weak tidal estuaries form strong vertical salt
gradients,often forming a salt wedge, so that circulation is primarily controlled by
densitydriven flows, e.g. the MississipiRiver in the United States,as discussedby
Officer (1976). The effects of tidal mixing inhibiting the more efficient
gravitationally driven exchange is clearly demonstratedin Spencer Gulf, South
Australia where a pronouncedSpring-Neaptidal cycle createsperiodsof strongthen
weak turbulence(Nunes and Lennon, 1987). The effect of vertical mixing reducing
the gravitationalcirculationhas also been demonstratedin laboratoryexperimentsby
Linden and Simpson(1986).
JervisBayhasa surfaceareaof approximately
124km2, an average
depthof 15m
and an entrance3.75 km wide and 40 m deep connectingto the open shelf (Figure
1). The bay is thermally stratifiedfor much.of the year and tendsto remain slightly
cooler (IøC) than the shelf waters. Currentsin the bay are weak at both tidal and
withtypicalflowsof 0.05ms-1. In contrast,
energeticand influencedby both northwardpropagatingshelf waves with periodsof
around 8 days (Church et al., 1986) and warm core eddies associatedwith the
polewardflow of the East AustraliaCurrent(Nilssonand Cresswell,1981).
The plan of this paper is to briefly discusscurrentobservationsfrom the bay entrance
measuredover a 12 month period; summarizefrom an earlier paper several possible
mechanismscapable of forcing flow through the bay entrance; and to define the
volume exchange,or flushing, rates through the entranceand discussthe processes
by which the exchangeoccurs.


Four current meters were moored in the bay entrance and maintained, with some
data gaps,for a year from April 1989 to March 1990. Two currentmeterswere at 12
and 30 m depthsin 35 m waterdepthapproximately0.7 km off Bowen Island,on the
southernside of the entrance,and the other two were at 12 and 34 m depthsin 38 m
water depth,0.7 km off Point Perpendicularon the northernside of the entrance. In
addition,there was a stringof three currentmeterson the shelf in 100 m water depth
betweenApril and November1989. Locationsof the mooringsand a meteorological
stationare shownin Figure 1.
Time seriesof low-passfiltered (half amplituderesponseat 10 days) vectorcurrent-
sticks from the four entrancecurrent meters are plotted in Figure 2 with the
148 A field Investigation

currents plotted in Figure 3. The filtered currents through the bay entrance are
generallyweakwith maximaof 0.15 ms-1 andtypicalvaluesof 0.05ms-1. On the
otherhand,the shelfcurrents
are strong,up to 1.0 ms-1 with typicalvaluesof 0.4
ms-1. The shelfcurrentsarepredominantly poleward, particularlyat 30 m depth,
although they show oscillations with periods of around 10 days producing
equatorwardflows. The currentsticksfrom the bay entranceplottedin Figure 2 are
orientatedto show inflow (outflow) by stickspointing up (down) the page. It can be
clearly seen that at periodslonger than 10 days there is a near continualoutflow of
water at 34 m depth on the northernside of the entrance(Point Perpendicular)and a
near continualinflow of water at 12 m depthon the southernsideof the entrance(off
Bowen Island). The other two current meters, 12 m depth off Point Perpendicular
and 30 m depthoff Bowen Island, showweaker and more variableflows.
Holloway et al. (1992) have calculatedcoherencesbetween the variouscombinations
of currentpairs from the bay entrance. Consideringthe inflow/outflowcomponentof
the currents(with inflow defined as currents60ø west of north), strongcoherencewas
found between the deep currents off Point Perpendicularand surface currents off
Bowen Island over the period range 7 to 16 days with a 180ø phase difference.


12m ••

34m •


12 Bowen Island 30m


AI M I j 1j i A I S i O i N I 0 I j I F I MI
1989 1990

Figure 2. Vector sticks of low-pass filtered (half amplitude responseat 10 days) currents
throughthe bay entrance. Orientation is such that sticks pointing upwards show flow into the
Holloway 149

The other pairs of currents showed no significant coherence at low frequencies

except for the 12 and 34 m deep currentsoff Point Perpendicularthat are coherent
between 16 and 26 days with little phaselag.
A mean flow pattern through the bay entrance is defined by computing the mean
value, over the 12 month period April 1989 to March 1990, of the inflow/outflow
currentcomponentfor each currentmeter. Note that there is a larger gap in the 34 m
Point Perpendicularcurrent measurementsthan at the other locations,and this could
produce a small bias in the averages. The averages from the four locations are
linearly interpolated and extrapolated across the bay entrance to produce the
contoureddistributionof currentsshownin Figure 4. This showsmaximum inflow at
the surfaceoff BowenIslandof 0.04 ms-1, the zero velocityisotachrunning
diagonallyfrom near the surfaceat Point Perpendicularto the sea bdd off Bowen
Island,andmaximumoutflownearthe seabed
off PointPerpendicular
at 0.04 ms-1.
There is a close balance between the inflow and outflow volume fluxes, as expected
for the low evaporationand river input.
The picture of circulation in the bay that emerges is one of a near continual
clockwise circulation within the bay with water entering at the surface near Bowen
Island and exiting at greater depth off Point Perpendicular. In addition, this near
continualcirculationpattern is modulatedby flows with periodsof between 7 and 16
days, correspondingto coastallytrappedwave periods.


55m N



-5o 3

IAI M i j I j I A I S I O I N I

Figure 3. Vector sticks of low-pass filtered (half amplitude responseat 10 days) currents on
the shelf adjacentto the entranceof JervisBay in 100 m water depth. Sticks pointing up the
page shownorthward
150 A field Investigation

Point Bowen
Perpendicular Distance(kin) Island
0 I 2 3
! I !
0 X 'x \ ß

X X \ -4x

X -2
lO %




Figure 4. Contoured distributionof average of currentsthrough the bay entrance,based on

time seriesfrom the four observationpoints as marked by dots over the period April 1989 to
March 1990. Negative valuesshow inflow, positive valuesshowoutflow.

Forcingof the ObservedFlows

Holloway et al., (1992) discussa number of forcing mechanismsthat could be
responsiblefor driving the observed flows through the entrance of Jervis Bay,
although, there is still considerableuncertaintyinvolved in fully understandingthe
relevant mechanisms. In this section, a brief summary of their discussions is
presented. The effectivenessof wind in forcing currentsthroughthe bay entrance
was assessed by computing the coherences between the wind and current
componentsin the inflow/outflowdirectionfrom the bay entrancemoorings. Results
from the analysisof a 5 month data segmentfrom September1989 to January1990
showedthat the 12 m deepcurrentsoff Bowen Island and the 34 m deepcurrentsoff
Point Perpendicularwere both significantly coherent with the wind over a narrow
periodrangeof 7 to 10 days. The surfaceinflow off BowenIslandlaggedthe wind by
45ø and the deep inflow off Point Perpendicularlead the wind by 138ø i.e. therewas
a 180øphasedifferencebetweenthe two locations. Currentsfrom the other locations
in the bay entranceshowedno significantcoherencewith the wind. The analysisdid
not supportwind as a drivingmechanismfor flows at longerperiods.
Craig and Holloway (1991) used a simple quasi-geostrophicnumerical model
representingJervis Bay to investigatethe influence of coastallytrapped waves
Holloway 151

driving a circulationin the bay. A first baroclinicmode of a coastallytrappedwave

propagatingalong the shelf could cause vertical oscillationsof the temperatureor
density field on the shelf. Such waves have been well documentedfor the East coast
of Australia (Church et al., 1986). The model imposesa temperatureoscillationat
the southernsideof the bay entrancewith the bay represented as a rectangularbay of
constantdepthand buoyancyfrequency. An oscillationof 8 day period generatesa
clockwisepropagatinginternal Kelvin wave with a width of I - 2 km and currentsof
a few cms
-1. Evidencefor currentsdriventhroughthe bay entranceby this
mechanismwassoughtfrom the observations by Hollowayet al. (1992) by computing
the coherencebetweenthe water temperatures on the shelf (at 30 m depth) and the
inflow/outflowcurrentsthroughthe bay entrance.Resultsfrom an analysisover a 7
week period from April to May 1989 showedstrongcoherencebetween the shelf
temperaturesand the Bowen Island inflow/outflow currents,at both 12 and 30 m, at
periodsof 6 to 8 days. Weaker but significantcoherence(at 95% confidencelevel)
was also foundwith the 34 m deepPointPerpendicular currentsat the sameperiods.
There was a 180ø phasedifferencebetweenthe two levels off Bowen Island and also
between the upper Bowen Island and deep Point Perpendicular values. These
coherencesare consistentwith the idea of shelf wave forcing of flow throughthe bay
entrance and with a baroclinic Kelvin wave structure.

The persistentor mean flow throughthe entrance,shownby the currenttime seriesin

Figure 2 and annualaveragesin Figure 4, requiresan equally persistentforcing
mechanism. For much of the year a horizontaldensitygradientpersistsbetweenthe
shelf and bay waters with the shelf slightly warmer (1øC) and less dense than the
bay. It is suggestedthat the temperaturecontrastis maintainedby the advectionof
warm water on the shelffrom the northby the East AustraliaCurrent. Holloway et al.
(1992) suggestedthat the resultingpressuregradientcouldbe of sufficientmagnitude
to drivetheobserved
of a fewcms-1. Thehypothesis
wasa flow
with the horizontal pressuregradient (from the bay-shelf temperaturecontrast)
balancedby vertical and bottom friction, as is often found in horizontally stratified
estuaries.Numericalmodellingwork by Craig and Andrewartha(1992) also supports
this idea of flow forced by densitycontrastsbetweenthe bay and shelf. Theft model
resultsproduce a clockwise (anti-clockwise)circulation through the bay entrance
and throughoutthe bay for densitycontrastsbetweenthe bay and shelf with the bay
waters denser (less dense) than the shelf waters.

Flushingof the Embayment

In this sectionan attemptis made at describingthe volume exchangebetween the
bay and shelf and the flushing rate of the bay. With the weak tidal flow in the bay,
tidal flushing is expectedto be slow. Holloway et al. (1991) presenttidal current
constituentsfrom the entrancecurrentmeters, showingthe largestconstituentto be
M2 withsemi-major axesbetween
0.066and0.034ms-1, aligned
in/outof thebay.
only0.02ms-1 forM2 nearthecentre
of the bay (Holloway et al., 1989). The tidal excursion,definedas uoT/• where Uo
152 A field Investigation

the tidal current amplitude and T the period, is then only a few hundredmeters and
with an M2 tidal amplitudeof 0.5 m (Holloway et al., 1991) the intertidal volume of
water moved into and out of the bay is only small. Tidal prism calculations(e.g.
Officer, 1976) then predict a flushing time of over 12 months,indicatingthe weak
effects of tidal flushing. Alternatively, flushing from advectionby the lower (than
tidal) frequency flows discussedin section 2 is considered. Any exchange by
turbulentmixing processesis neglected.
The inflow/outflowcurrentvelocitiesare low-passfiltered to removetidal and higher
frequency currents using a filter with a half amplitude responseat 32 h. These
currentsare then linearly interpolatedacrossthe cross-sectionat the entranceof the
bay in order to compute time series of the sub-tidal frequency inflow and outflow
volume fluxes. At thesefrequencies,the fluxes must be approximatelyequal as the
bay is a closed systemwith sufficiently small river input and evaporative lossesto
cause negligible currentsthrough the entrance. A time series of exchangeflux is
then defined as the averageof the absolutevalues of the inflow and outflow volume
fluxes and this representsthe rate at which water is being exchangedbetween the
bay and shelf throughthe bay entrance. A net flux (inflow plus outflow volumes)is
also calculatedto give a measureof how accuratelythe zero volume flux condition
is met. The calculationswere repeatedfor a number of definitions of the direction
taken as defining inflow/outflowand a value of inflow as 57øwest of north minimized
the net flow summed over the measurement duration (12 months). However, the
values of exchangeflux were only weakly dependenton this orientationfor variations
of + 20ø. The resultingtime seriesof volume exchangeflux is plotted in Figure 5
where it should be noted that the interpolation of currents across the entrance
involvedonly threecurrentmetersduringJuly and August.
The spectrumof the exchangeflux time series,over the period June 1989 to March
1990, is plotted in Figure 6. The spectrumhas a distinctpeak at around6 days with
increasing energy at lower frequencies. The root-mean-squared value of the
exchangeflux (Erms)is computedfrom the spectralvalue (S), at a period of 6 days,

;,',', 6

o 4

0 A
1989 1990

Figure 5. Time seriesof exchangeflux through the bay entrancecomputedfrom low-pass

filtered currentswhere the filter has a half amplituderesponseat 32
Holloway 153

Period (h)
10 3
ill'if] ] j Jliliii I I jillIll I I
_ lO l

10 2


lO o 95%



10-• .

'"'110'-3 10• 0-1


Figure 6. Spectrumof the exchangeflux throughthe bay entrance(computedfrom currents

low-passfiltered with filter half amplituderesponseat 32 h) over the period July 1989 to
March 1990.

asErms = [AraS(ra)]
1/2whereAm is the frequency
bandwidthof the spectrum
frequencyra•_Further,for sinusoidalmotion, the averagevalue of the exchangeflux
by•/2 Erin
s. Thisgives
March1990as 510 m3s-1 at a periodof 6 days. If theflushingtimeof thebayis
definedas thebay volume(1.89 x 109m3) dividedby the exchange flux, thenthe
averageflushingtime by oscillatingmotion at 6 day period is 43 days.
The spectral peak in exchange flux at 6 days is consistentwith the periods of
coastallytrappedwaves discussedearlier. It was suggestedby Craig and Holloway
(1992) that such motion propagatedclockwise around Jervis Bay as an internal
Kelvin wave. Here, the effectivenessof such a Kelvin wave in flushing the bay is

Consideran interval Kelvin wave with alongshorevelocity amplitudeVo at the coast

propagating along a straight coastline in an ocean of constant depth (h). The
alongshore-velocitystructureis given as,
v(x,y,z,t)= Vo{(z) sin(ly - rat)e-x/R (1)

where {(z) is the vertical modal function, x is the distanceoffshore, zero at the
coast, 1 is the alongshore(y-direction) wavenumber, ra the wave frequency, t is time
and R is the internal Rossby Radius of deformationdefined
154 A field Investigation

wheref is •e Coriolisparameter
(-8.38x 10-5 s-• forIervisBay)andc is •e phase
speedfor long internal gravity waves (LeBlond and Mysak, 1978). For an oceanof
constantbuoyancyfrequency(No) and for first mode waves,

and c= . (4)

At any particularcross-section throughthe Kelvin wave (1) representsa volume flux

in one directionin the upperpart of the water body and an equal flux in the opposing
direction in the lower half of the water body. The magnitudeof this flux, in say the
upper half of the water body, can be found from (1) and (3) as,
h/2 oo

=0I0IVoCOS(•) -
sin(ly tot) e-x/Rdxdz

which gives,
V = sin (ly - tot) . (5)

The volume of water transportedpast a particular point (say, y = 0) is then the

volume flux, given by (5), integrated over half a wave period. Over the other half
period, there is an equal transportin the same direction in the other half of the water
body. Therefore, the total volume flux in one direction, where T is the wave period,
is, from (2), (4) and (5),

V=2 oRh
•0 • sin(ly- tot)
at ,
which gives,

- 2voNoh2
V = n3Ifl ' (6)
This shows that the volume exchange that could be induced by a Kelvin wave
propagatingthrough the entranceof a bay, providing the entranceis wide compared
to the Rossby radius, is linearly dependenton both the wave amplitude and the
A time seriesof buoyancyfrequencyis calculatedfrom the temperaturedifference
between 12 and 30 m depthsrecordedby currentmetersoff Bowen Island. The low-
passfiltered time series(half amplituderesponseof the filter is at 10 days) is
Holloway 155



A M I j I j I A I S i O I N I 0 [ J I F I M
1989 1990

Figure7. Time series of low-passfiltered buoyancyfrequency (filter with half amplitude

responseat 10 days) computedfrom the temperaturedifference between the 12 m and 30m
depthBowen Island currentmeters.

in Figure7 andshowsmaximumvaluesin summer

of 0.03 s-1 andwinterminimaof
0.005 s-1. Using(2) and(4) withh = 15 m, theRossby
from 0.3 to 1.7 km from winter to summerfor JervisBay. These narrow radii mean
that the Kelvin wave will propagate(clockwise) around the bay edge (where the
radiusof curvatureof the bay is about5 km at the northernend) and the assumption
of a wave propagatingalong a straightcoastline,usedin deriving (6), is a reasonable
The variationsin stratificationas shownin Figure 7 mainly from winter to summer,
imply a corresponding variationin the volumeflux as given by (6). This is supported
from a comparisonof spectraof the exchangeflux from winter (July to September)
and summer(Decemberto February) as plotted in Figure 8. The summerspectral
peakat a periodof 6 daysgivesan exchange
flux of approximately
960 m3 s-1
whereas in winter the spectral peak is shifted to a period of 4.5 days and is
significantly smaller in magnitude.
Ideally, an estimateof Vo, the coastalamplitudeof the Kelvin wave, from the current
metersmooredin the bay entranceis required. Thesemooringsare 0.7 km from the
coast, which in winter, is over 2 RossbyRadii from the coast,making an estimate
highly unreliable. In summerthe mooringsare approximatelyhalf a RossbyRadius
from the coastand, combinedwith the vertical modal functionas given by (3), from
(1) the currentsmetersat 12 m depthwould be measuringapproximately25% of the
amplitude of Vo and the deeper current meters approximately 50% of Vo during
summer. Spectraof the inflow/outflowcurrentsin the bay entranceover the summer
period December to February give amplitudes of currents at a 6 day period of
0.020and0.036ms-1 fromthedifferent
of the changein velocity with depth and di•stancefrom the coast,the spectralvalues
leadto estimates
in Vo,duringsummer,
of approximately
0.1 ms-1. However,
a good deal of uncertainty in these estimates.
Application of (6) to estimatethe volume flux inducedby a Kelvin wave for Jervis
Bayin summer,
withh = 15m, No= 0.03s-1andVo= 0.1ms-1,givesV = 520m3s
156 A field Investigation

Period (h)
Iiiil I I I Jlllll I I I

• ,102
......• summer
• 10• winter--•1•
10 o 95%

I_ I l.IllliJ I J i III11
10 3 10-2 0-1
Frequency (cph)

Figure 8. Spectrum of exchange flux through the bay entrance (computed from low-pass
filtered currents with filter half amplitude responseat 32 h) over winter (July to September)
and summer (December to February)periods.


AIM I j I j I •--i S I 0 I N I D ! j I F IM
1989 1990

Figure 9. Time seriesof exchangeflux through the bay entrancecomputedfrom low-pass

filtered currentswhere the filter has a half amplituderesponseat 10 days.

This compares favourably, consideringthe uncertaintiesinvolved, to the spectral

valuesof exchange flux at a 6 dayperiodobtained
s-l), supporting
internalKelvinwavesas a possiblemechanism
of flushingJervis
Bay. The correspondingresidenceor flushing time for the bay, from the summer
spectralvalue of volumeexchange,is 23
Holloway 157

Next, the exchangebetweenthe bay and shelf by the very low frequency(periods
longerthan 10 days) or mean flows is considered.The exchangeflux is recomputed
usingthe methoddescribedearlier, but usingcurrentvelocitieslow-passfiltered with
a filter having a half amplituderesponseof 10 days. It shouldbe noted that this is
not the same as filtering the exchangefluxes previously calculated and plotted in
Figure 5. The new time seriesof exchangeflux is plottedin Figure 9. The average
valueis 1530m3s-1, aboutthreetimeslargerthanthatdueto 6 day periodmotion,
and givesan annualaverageflushingtime of 14 days. The standarddeviationin this
flux timeseriesis 900 m3s
-1, and_+1 standard
value gives flushingtimesrangingfrom 9 to 35 days. There are also a numberof
peaksin thetimeseries
of exchange fluxwithvaluesof around
-• andwith
a maximum of 4500m3s-• givinga flushing
timeof only5 days.


In this papera discussionhas been presentedof the observedflow structurethrough

the entrance of a small coastal embayment. The observationshave been used to
estimate the flushing time of the bay, defined as the time required for one bay
volume to be advected through the bay entrance by low-frequency (sub-tidal)

The mechanismof tidal flushing,where water is oscillatedback and forth throughthe

entrance with near uniform flow across the entrance, is found to be weak due to the
low tidal regime and relatively deep bay. Effective tidal exchangerelies on the
mixing of the inter-tidal volume, or tidal prism, with the bay waters so that a
significantvolume of the original bay water is removedon each tidal cycle. It has
been shownin this paper that a more effective exchangefor Jervis Bay is brought
aboutby advectionof water throughthe bay entranceby low-frequencycurrents,with
typical periodsof 6 days, and also by persistentor mean flows. These flows are
found to have a structurethroughthe entrancewith inflow strongestnear the surface
on the southernside of the bay entrance,compensatedby outflow on the northern
sideof the bay entrancewith a maximumnear the seabed. This is foundin both the
mean and oscillatingcurrentsand is consistentwith a clockwisecirculationaround
the bay. The advectiveexchangethen resultsfrom simultaneous inflow and outflow
by currentsthat are either of long enough period and/or sufficient strength to
significantlypenetrateinto the bay.

Spectraof the calculatedexchangeflux showeda significantpeak at a period of

around 6 days, thought to be a result of forcing by coastallytrapped waves that
propagatenorthwardalongthe shell The exchangeis interpretedas resultingfrom
an internal Kelvin wave propagatingclockwise around the bay and is shown to
dependon the wave amplitudeand the buoyancyfrequency. This rather narrow
(small internal Rossby radius) wave producesa maximum exchange in summer,
when stratificationis strongest,leading to a summeraverageflushing time of
158 A field Investigation

days. However, it is expectedthat shorterterm variability would produceperiods of

more rapid exchange. It is furthershownthat the backgroundor meanflows resultin
very effective advectiveflushingof the bay, with an annualaverageof 14 days and
maximum ratesof around5 days.
In conclusion,it is seen that in this coastal embayment,the lowest frequencyflows
are the most effective in exchangingwater between the bay and shell even though
are onlya few cms-1. Tidal currents,
of similarmagnitude
to the
low frequencyflows, are lesseffective in flushingthe bay due to the small inter-tidal
volume that is exchanged. Effective exchangeis inducedby coastallytrappedwave
motion, and this exchangeis enhancedwith increasingstratificationwhich causesan
increasein the internal Rossbyradiusof Kelvin waves that can propagatearoundthe


Bowden,K.F. Horizontal mixing in a sea due to a shearingcurrent.J. Fluid Mech. 21, 83-95,
Church, J.A., H.J. Freeland and R.L. Smith, Coastal-trappedwaves on the East Australian
Coast,Part 1: Propagationof modes.J. Phys.Oceanogr.16, 1929-1943, 1986.
Craig, P.D. and J. Andrewartha,Modelling the water circulationin JervisBay. CSIRO Division
of OceanographyReport OMR-52/8. Prepared for Department of Defence Jervis Bay
BaselineStudy,50 pp, 1992.
Craig, P.D. and P.E. Holloway, The influenceof coastallytrappedwaveson the circulationin
Jervis Bay, New South Wales, pp 9-33. In Dynamicsand Exchangesin Estuariesand the
CoastalZone. ed. D. Prandle,SpringerVerlag 747 pp, 1991.
Hansen, D.V. and M. Rattray, New dimensionsin estuary classification. Limnologyand
oceanography11, 319-326, 1966.
Holloway, P.E. Longitudinalmixing in the upperreachesof the Bay of Fundy.Estuar., Coastal
andShelfSci.,13, 495-515,1981.
Holloway, P.E., G. Symonds,R. Nunes Vaz, M. Jeffrey, and J. Mathias, Oceanographic
measurements in JervisBay, December1988 to January1989. Working Paper 1989/2, Dept.
of Geographyand Oceanography,University College, Australian Defence Force Academy,
Canberra,44 pp, 1989.
Holloway, P.E., G. Symonds,R. Nunes Vaz and M. Jeffrey, Oceanographicmeasurementsin
Jervis Bay, April 1989 to April 1990. WorkingPaper 1991/1 Dept. of Geography and
Oceanography,UniversityCollege,Aust. DefenceForceAcademy,Canberra,48 pp, 1991.
Holloway, P.E., G. Symonds, R. Nunes Vaz, Observationsof Circulation and exchange
processesin JervisBay, New SouthWales. Aust.J. Mar. FreshwaterRes. 43, 1487-1515,
LeBlond, P.H. and L.A. Mysak Waves in the Ocean,Elsevier,New York, 602 pp, 1978.
Linden, P.F. and J.E. Simpson Gravity driven flows in a turbulentfluid. J. Fluid Mech., 172,
481-497, 1986.
Nilsson, C.S., and G.R. Cresswell. The formation and evolution of East Australian Current
warm-coreeddies. Prog. Oceanogr.9, 131-183.
Nunes, R.A. and G.W. Lennon Episodic stratification and gravity currents in a marine
environmentof modulatedturbulence.J. Geophys.Res.,92, C5, 5465-5480,1987.
Officer, C.B. PhysicalOceanography
of Estuariesand AssociatedCoastalWaters.JohnWiley,
New York, 465 pp,

A Note on the Influence of a Deep Ship

Channel on Estuarine-ShelfExchangein a
Broad, Shallow Estuary
W. W. Schroeder, J. R. Pennock and W. J. Wiseman Jr.


Satellite imagery indicates the occasionalpresenceof warm, clear surface waters

directly over the main ship channel of Mobile Bay, Alabama, while the adjacent
lateral shoalregions generallyremain cold and turbid. This feature is observedonly
under conditions of strong wind stress from the north and low-to-moderate river
discharge. Hydrographicdata suggeststhat upwelling occursat the landward end of
the main ship channel under such conditions. These observationsare discussedin
terms of simple wind-driven estuarineexchangeprocesses.


Broad, shallow estuaries have long been thought to be relatively uninteresting

systemsdriven in a simple manner by the winds and the tides. Recent work by
Zimmerman (1980), Ridderinkhof (1988) and their colleagueshas demonstratedthe
fallacy of this notion in strongly tidally-driven regions where non-linearities in the
equationsof motion becomeimportant. Even in much simpler systems,the presence
of bathymetricchangesand a variable wind field accountfor a spectrumof transport
patterns. Of particular interest are the effects of multiple inlets and dredgedship
channels. The interactionof thesefeatureswith the pressuregradientsgeneratedby
the wind, within the frictionally-dominated estuary and over the rotationally-

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages159-170
Copyright1996by theAmericanGeophysical
160 Influence of a Deep Ship Channel

dominatedshelf, result in importantand non-trivial temporaland spatialtransport

variability. When present,stratificationin the deeperportionsof theseestuaries,as
well as in the deep ship channels,will modify the typical wind-drivensystem.

2 URS:
• ' ..71'
' ..........
.- •,• • Y•J"N)}] ]•:"
' (Referene Plan-

ardIsland •: reatPoint

: •-••'"
/ /



Figure 1. Bathymetricchartof Mobile Bay, Alabama,indicatingthe positionof the main ship

channel. Field survey station locationsalong the main ship channel and lateral transectsof
upper Mobile Bay are representedby boxesand circles,
Schroeder et al. 161

Twenty-three field surveys and over two-hundred cloud-free Landsat images have
been examined and used to document the role the main ship channel of the Mobile
Bay, Alabama (USA) estuary plays in the development of various hydrographic
regimes observed in that system. Mobile Bay is a broad, shallow estuary on the
Alabama coastof the northernGulf of Mexico (Figure 1). It has a maximum width
of 38 km and extends50 km in the north-southdirection. The estuaryconnectsto the
Gulf of Mexico throughMain Passwhich, on average,carriesapproximately85% of
the mass flux. The remaining flux occursto the east, to Mississippi Sound through
Passaux Herons. A narrow (215-230 m) ship channelextendsfrom Main Passto the
Port of Mobile at the northernend of the bay. This channelis 13-15 m deep while
the remainder of the bay averages3 m deep at mean high water. The bay is the
estuary of the Mobile River systemwhich annually dischargesapproximately 1850
m3s-1 of freshwater. Theriversfloodin springandlow flow conditions
throughout the fall and early winter. Winds are predominantly gentle breezes from
the south(meanspeedsrangefrom 2 to 3.5 ms-1) duringthe summerwith a
significant diurnal sea-breeze component. Wintertime is characterized by strong
rangefrom4.5 to 6 ms-1) associated
with cold-air
outbreaks (CAO). Astronomical tides in this region of the Gulf of Mexico are
principally diurnal and small in amplitude with a mean range of 0.4 m.
Meteorological tides can generate water level changesas much as twice this value.
Thus, they are extremely important in affecting estuarine-shelfexchanges.
Strong stratificationis nearly always presentin the ship channel(e.g. Austin, 1954;
McPhearson,1970). The shoalerregions of the bay, which can also be strongly
stratified (Schroeder, 1978; Schroeder et al., 1990b), are often well-mixed,
particularlyduring the windy winter months(Schroederet al., 1990b). The strength
of the stratification is modulated by river runoff and the redistribution of this fresh
water by wind-drivencurrentsand mixing (Schroederet al., 1990a).
While the seasonal cycles of stratification are reasonably clear and well-
documented, these are intimately linked to and punctuated by short-lived
predominantlywind-driven events. Herein, we will demonstratethat the ship channel
functionsas a conduit for warm, saline Gulf of Mexico water to be transportedinto
the upper reachesof the bay during periodsof strong,down-estuarywinds associated
with winter cold air outbreaksor other storms. These bottom waters are aperiodically
transportedto adjacent bay bottom areasby a variety of processes.



Over two-hundredcloud-freeLandsatMultispectral Scannervisible band 5 (0.5-0.6

gm) scenesof the Mobile Bay regionhave beenexamined. In at least 13 cases,the
main ship channelleading from the Port of Mobile to the Gulf of Mexico has
162 Influence of a Deep Ship Channel

Figure 2. Landsat MSS band 5 image from 20 November 1981. Note the dark outline of the
main ship channelfrom Main Passto Mobile. (See Figure 1 for location
Schroeder et al. 163


ANDS 4,3,2)

Figure 3. Compositeof visible bands(2, 3 and 4) from LandsatThematic Mapper scene, 10

February 1989. Note the dark outline of the main ship channel from Main Pass to Mobile.
(See Figure 1 for location map.)

distinctly outlined by clear water (e.g. Figure 2). A single occurrencehas been
observedin both the visible bands[2(0.52-0.6 gm), 3(0.63-0.69 gm), and 4(0.76-0.90
gm)] and thermalIR band [6(10.4-11.7 gm)] from a ThematicMapper (TM) scene.
Surfacewater temperaturemappingutilizing TM band6 followed the methodology
set forth by Lathrop and Liliesand (1986). In this case,the channelis delineatedby
warm, clear water (Figures 3 and 4). Principal componentanalyses(Kendall and
Stuart, 1966) were performedon the pixel values of all sevenbandsof Thematic
Mapper data. The first two principalcomponentsdistinguishbetweenland and water
within the image. The third (Figure 5) and fourthprincipalcomponents of the image
accountfor more than 10% of the variancein the image and describean
164 Influence of a Deep Ship Channel


Figure 4. Thermal band (6) from Landsat Thematic Mapper scene, 10 February 1989. Note
warmerwater (8.4øC) outliningthe shipchannelin the lower bay andthe pool of warmer water
(10.6øC) centeredover the shipchannelin the northwesterncornerof the bay. (See Figure 1
for locationmap).

of warm and clear water. A pool of warm, clear surface water is observedin the
northwesterncornerof the bay (Figures3 and 4). This pool is centeredover the ship
channel and appearsto have an origin from upwelled water transportedto this site by
the ship channelfrom the Gulf of Mexico.
Associatedenvironmentaldata recordshave also been examined. The periods during
which the outline 6f the ship channelis visible on satellite imagery all correspondto
periods of low-to-moderateriver flow. Five to sevenday averagedischargesduring
-1 withmostfallingbelow800m3s
Furthermore,the wind-forcing over the bay was always from the north and relatively
Schroeder et al. 165


Figure5. Third principalcomponentfrom LandsatThematicMapperscene,10 February1989.

Note the light outlineof the main shipchannelfrom Main Passto Mobile. (See Figure 1 for
location map).

Field Surveys

Over the past 20 years,numerousquasi-synoptic surveysof hydrographicproperties

within Mobile Bay have been made from small, fast boats. Vertical profiling of the
water columnhas been undertakenutilizing either a Hydrolab SurveyorII (pre-1990)
or a SeaBird ElectronicsSBE-25 CTD (post-1990). While thesedata setstend to be
fair weather biased, a few have been made immediately following strong
166 Influence of a Deep Ship Channel

events from the north. When these latter surveys are associatedwith low river
discharge,the isohalinesand isothermsare observedto upwell in the ship channelat
the northern end of the bay (Figure 6). Under higher runoff conditions, the
hydrographicstructurealong the ship channel more often resemblesa salt-wedge
estuary(Figure 7).

MB-24(27 MARCH
1992) MB-24('

•ø--- / •5• 10•

-5'--• -5 25

I I I J t I I I I
10 2• 30 40 -20
O 10 20 30 40

Figure 6. Longitudinal sectionsof temperatureand salinity along the Main Ship Channel of
Mobile Bay under low river flow conditions following a northerly wind stress event. (See
Figure 1 for stationlocations.)


MB-20•6 NOVEMBER1991) MB-20('6 NOVEMBER1991)

E-•o E •o

i -2o i i ! i
-2Oo '10 210 310 40 0 10 20 30 40

Figure7. Longitudinal sectionsof temperatureand salinity along the Main Ship Channel of
Mobile Bay under high river flow conditions. (See Figure 1 for station
Schroeder et al. 167


While the necessaryfield data is not available for corroboration, we believe the
sequenceof events leading to the observedthin strip of warm, clear water directly
above the ship channelto be the following. CAO along the northernGulf of Mexico
are generally precededby a period of moderatewinds from the southeastand south.
Such winds will cause both an Ekman convergenceat the coast and a frictionally-
driven set-upof waters at the northernend of Mobile Bay. Both will, initially, cause
water to flow from the ocean into the bay. After the wind stressis balanced by the
barotropicpressuregradient within the bay, a two layered circulation will develop
with upstreamflow in the near-surfacelayers and downstreamflow below. As the
leading edge of the cold air outbreakpassesover the coast,the winds shift rapidly to
a strongflow from the north. The coastalwaters set down under the reversedwind
stress and the bay waters reverse their slope. The reversed barotropic pressure
gradient within the bay now drives deep flow northward within the ship channel
while the wind stressdrives near surfacewater seaward,enhancingthe compensatory
upstreamflow in the deeperwater layers. Under low fiver dischargeconditions,the
lower salinity upper water layers will be greatly thinned. Wind-inducedmixing will
homogenize the shallow waters in the lateral regions of the bay, but reduce the
turbidity and increase the temperatureof the waters directly over the ship channel
through entrainmentof warm, clear coastalwaters which have intruded up the ship
channel. At the landward end of the ship channel,under a sufficiently strong wind
event, upwelling of thesewarm, saline waters will occur (Figure 6).
Dense water, normally found in the deeperportionsof the ship channel,is regularly
found in the deeper regions of the adjacent lateral shoals of the bay. One
mechanismallowing import of this water into the shoalregionsand establishmentof
stratification is associated with the observed upwelling along the channel,
particularly at the northern end. The deep waters are lifted above the level of the
natural bay bottom or dredgedspoil banks on the sidesof the channeland spill over
onto the lateral shoals where they spread as a gravity current until wind-driven
mixing (Schroederet aI., 1990a) breaksdown the stratification. As the wind event
which initiated the upwelling relaxes, the mass of upwelled water may propagate
seaward along the channel as an internal gravity wave. Water will flow laterally
from the crest as the wave moves southward. This processappearsto have been
capturedin a pair of surveystakensome14 hoursaparton 2 November1976. During
the early morning (AM) survey, saline water was upwelled at the northernend of the
ship channel(Figure 8) as a resultof winds from the north, with a strengthof 5 to 7
ms-1, prevailing
24 hours.Thewindsdecreased
to lessthan2.5 ms-
1 within 3 hoursfollowingthe AM survey. This wouldresultin an unbalanced
longitudinal baroclinic pressuregradient. The linear internal wave speed within the
to beroughly0.55ms-1. It wasestimated

168 Influenceof a Deep Ship Channel

h andh'arethedepth
of theupper
g isgravity
andp andAp
are a meandensityandthe densitydifferencebetweenthe two layers,respectively.
This speed is probably an overestimate as it does not account for friction. It
certainlyallowsthe wave crestto propagate well pastthe secondcross-baysection
monitored duringthe timebetweensurveys as seenin theearlyevening(PM) survey
(Figure8). Lateral flow of densewaterclearlyoccurredat this sectionand a wave
crestis indicatedto lie betweenthe secondandthirdcross-baysections.

in Mobile Bay by examiningthe relationshipsamongwind stress,river
waterlevel, andwaterflow throughMain PassandwithinMobile Bay.


-* * 10--
ß -* 20 15

o_? ? ,? ? ? _




Figure8. Lateralcross-sections
of upperMobileBay salinityon 2 November1976. Upper
panel:NorthernTransect;Middle panel: Central transect;Bottom panel: Southerntransect.
(See Figure 1 for stationlocations.) The AM surveywas conductedbetween0525 and 0820
CST and the PM surveybetween1925 and 2235
Schroeder et al. 169

They inferred that at least three forcing functions cause significant flow variations
over three different time scales.Exchangesat periodsof 2 to 4 d are driven by the
cross-shelfalong-estuarywind stress,while coastalEkman convergence/divergence,
driven by the alongshorewind stress,producesexchangesat periodsof 3 to 20 d. At
seasonal scales, river runoff was shown to contribute to both the barotropic and
baroclinic exchanges. In addition, Wiseman et el. (1988) suggest,from the analysis
of one month of current meter data from lower Mobile Bay, that the contributionsof
subtidal advection,mean advection,and tidal dispersion(as estimatedfrom Austin
1954) to exchangethrough Main Pass are of the same order of magnitude. The
processeswe have describedcontributeto the subtidalexchange.
With the presentdata set we are unable to predict, with any degree of certainty, how
often this phenomenamay occur. However, it is possibleto estimatethe frequency
of occurrenceof times when strongwind stressfrom the north coincidewith periods
of low-to-moderate river runoff. On average, the combination of these conditions
occursduring the fall and early winter months,i.e. in the last half of the dry season,
when CAO first startto move acrossthe northernGulf of Mexico. This is supported
by the fact that dates of 9 of the 14 satellite sceneswith the outline of the ship
channel fell into this time frame: 4 during the month of November, 3 during the
month of December, 2 each for the months of October and February, and once for
each of the months of January,March, and April. The average number of CAO
during the period betweenSeptemberthroughDecemberis 24 (DiMego et el., 1976).
The mean duration of the northerly winds following a front is of the order of a day.
Thus, one might expect thesepatternsdescribedabove to be importantbetween 5 to
10% of the year, but concentratedin the late fall/early winter.

Acknowledgements. This work is the result of researchsponsoredby the U.S.

Geological Survey/Geological Survey of Alabama [14-08-0001-A0075], The
University of Alabama Marine Science Program and the Marine Environmental
SciencesConsortium of Alabama. Partial supportwas also received from U.S.
Geological Survey contract 14-08-0001-23411 with Louisiana State University.
ContributionNo. 208 of the Aquatic Biology Program,The University of Alabama;
ContributionNo. 229 of the Marine EnvironmentalSciencesConsortium,Dauphin
Island, Alabama. We wish to thank Michael C. Baker for providing the Landsat
Thematic Mapper data and Principal ComponentAnalyses, Ms. Celia Harrod for
preparingthe figures,and Ms. CarolynWood for keyboardingthe manuscript.


Austin, G. B., Jr. On the circulation and tidal flushing of Mobile Bay, Alabama, Part 1.
Technical Report No. 12, Oceanographic Survey of the Gulf of Mexico, Texas A&M
ResearchFoundation,College Station,Texas, pp. 28, 1954.
DiMego, G. J., L. F. Bosart and G. W. Endersen.An examinationof the frequency and mean
conditions surrounding frontal incursions into the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
Monthly WeatherRev., 104, 709-718,
170 Influence of a Deep Ship Channel

Kendall, M. G. and A. Stuart. The advanced theory of statistics; Volume 3: Design and
analysis,and time-series.CharlesGriffin and Co., Ltd., London, 1966.
Lathrop, R. G., Jr. and T. M. Liliesand. The utility of Thematic Mapper data for temperature
mapping in the Great Lakes. Technical Papers, 1986 ACSM-ASPRS Annual Convention,
March 16-21, Washington,D.C., Volume 5 (RemoteSensing):151-157, 1986.
McPhearson,R. M., Jr. The hydrographyof Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound, Alabama. J.
Mar. Sci. Alabama 1, 1-83, 1970.
Ridderinkhof, H. Tidal and residual flows in the Western Dutch Wadden Sea,I: Numerical
Model Results. Neth. J. Sea Res., 22, 1-22, 1988.
Schroeder, W. W. Riverine influence on estuaries: A case study, in Estuarine Interactions,
edited by M. L. Wiley, 347-364, AcademicPress,Inc., New York, New York, 1978.
Schroeder, W. W. and Wm. J. Wiseman, Jr. Low-frequency shelf estuarine exchange
processesin Mobile Bay and other estuarine systems on the northern Gulf of Mexico, in
Estuarine Variability, 355-367 editedby D. A. Wolfe, Academic Press, New York, New
York, 1986.
Schroeder,W. W., Wm. J. Wiseman, Jr. and S. P. Dinnel. Salinity stratification in a river-
dominatedestuary.Estuaries,13, 145-154, 1990a.
Schroeder, W. W., Wm. J. Wiseman, Jr., A. Williams, Jr., D.C. Raney and G. C. April.
Climate and Oceanography, In: Mobile Bay: Issues, Resources,Status and Management.
NOAA Estuary-of-the-MonthSeminar SeriesNumber 15, U.S. Department of Commerce,
Wash., D.C., 27-52, 1990b.
Wiseman, Wm. J., Jr., W. W. Schroeder and S. P. Dinnel. Shelf-estuarine water exchanges
betweenthe Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay, Alabama. AmericanFish SocietySymposium.
3, 1-8, 1988.
Zimmerman, J. T. F. Vorticity transfer by tidal currentsover an irregular topography.J. Mar.
Res., 38, 601-630,

Tidal and Low FrequencyFlushing of a

Coastal Lagoon Using a Flexible Grid

N. P. Smith


Tidal and low frequencynontidal exchangesof water between a coastallagoon and

adjacent continentalshelf are investigatedwithin the context of flushing, using a
computermodelbasedon the continuityequation.Flushingis quantifiedby the 50%
renewal time. The arrival of new ocean water occurs as a result of longitudinal
diffusion and a degreeof advectivetransportgovernedby the flexibility of segment
boundariesto move with the ebb and flood of the tide. The model is applied to the
Indian River lagoon system, lying along the Atlantic coast of Florida, USA.
Flushingrates are quantified for three sub-basinsof Indian River lagoon, and for
Banana River lagoon, connectedto the northern sub-basinof Indian River lagoon.
The lagoonsare microtidal and dependupon low frequencyexchangesto maintain
water quality.
One-year simulationsfor the Indian River lagoon systemas a whole show that the
50% renewal time is approximately140 days when transportby advection. When
the renewalof lagoonwateris by longitudinaldiffusionalone,the 50% renewallevel
is not reachedafter 365 days. A secondseriesof simulationscomparesflushingrates
for the three sub-basins of Indian River lagoon and for Banana River lagoon,
assuminga completelyflexible grid. The southernand centralsub-basinsof Indian
River lagoonreceive a 50% renewalof new oceanwater in about 5 and 12 days,
respectively;the northernsub-basinof Indian River lagoonand BananaRiver lagoon
reachapproximately30% renewalby the end of the one-yearsimulation.

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume 50, Pages171-183
Copyright1996 by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion
172 Flexible Grid Model


Mixing processesin estuariesdictate the rates at which salt water and fresh water
enter and leave, respectively, and thus are of crucial importance in determining
temporal and spatial variations of salinity, and the flushing characteristicsof the
estuary in general. Energetic mixing within an estuary, in combinationwith active
estuarine-shelf exchanges, reduces the residence time of fresh water, and at the
same time encourages the incursion of salt water. Thus, whether flushing is
quantified by the flushing time (Officer, 1976) or, for example, the 50% renewal
time of new ocean water (Pritchard,1960), mixing within an estuarydeterminesthe
estuary'snatural ability to maintain or reestablishwater quality.

Early flushingmodels (Ketchum,1951; Stommeland Arons, 1951) usedtime steps

of one semidiurnal tidal cycle and assumedcomplete mixing within segments
partitioned accordingto the local intertidal volume. While simple flushing models
continue to be used (Dyer and Taylor, 1973; Robinson, 1983; Merino et al., 1990;
Miller and McPherson,1991) and servea useful purposeas quicklooktools (Wood,
1979), three basic featurescompromisetheir ability to provide realisticresults. First
is the assumption of complete mixing, which was challenged at an early date
(Austin, 1954), althoughWood (1979) has suggesteda modificationto deal with this
issue. Second is the need to work with a single tidal constituent,which eliminates
the opportunityto investigatevariationsin flushing rates over a synodicmonth, for
example. Third, although freshwateroutflow can be incorporatedinto tidal prism
models, low frequency nontidal exchangesbetween estuarineand continentalshelf
waters cannot. Nontidal exchangesoften provide an important supplementto tidal

This paper constitutesone of a seriesof studiesthat has been designedto quantify

flushing rates for Indian River lagoon, lying along the Atlantic coast of Florida
(Figure 1). The lagoonis, 196 km long and generally2-4 km wide. Water depths
are characteristicallybetween1 and 3 m, though the Atlantic IntracoastalWaterway,
forming the longitudinal axis of the lagoon, has a depth of 3.5 m. The lagoon is
divided into three sub-basins,defined by three inlets, all of which are in the southern
half of the lagoon. Banana River lagoon is connectedto the northernsub-basin. The
northernend of Indian River is connectedto the southernend of MosquitoLagoon by
Haulover Canal (Smith, 1993a). Indian River lagoon is microtidal, with the
semidiurnal M2 tide serving as the principal constituent (Smith, 1987). M2
amplitudesin the northernsub-basinare generally0-5 cm. Amplitudesin the central
and southernsub-basinsare 5-10 cm and 10-15 cm, respectively. Banana River
lagoon is virtually tideless,with amplitudesof all tidal constituentslessthan 0.5 cm.

The first paperin the series(Smith, 1993b) quantifiedthe intertidalvolumeby using

harmonic constants of the principal semidiurnal and diurnal tidal constituents
recordedat 28 study sites. Amplitudeswere multiplied by the surfaceareas they
represent, and phase angles were incorporatedto accountfor the movement of tidal
waves through the lagoon. A precisemeasureof the intertidal volume was
Smith 173

for spring and neap conditions,including effects of diurnal inequalities. The second
paper (Smith, 1993c) appliedtheseresultsto a flushingmodel that incorporatedboth
advective and diffusive transportof fresh and salt water, and that comparedflushing
rates with and without ancillary nontidal exchanges. An important distinction
between this approachand hydrodynamicmodels is that the rise and fall of the tide
is specified within the model, using the predicted tide (Schureman, 1958), rather
than simulatedby adjustingfriction within the model. As a result, tidal exchanges
are modeled more precisely. Mixing within the lagoon must be specified, however,
just as with a hydrodynamicmodel, and model verification will involve matching


, II


Sebastian Inlet

Ft. Pierce Inlet


0 50Km

St. Lucie Inlet

80 ø'

Figure 1. The Indian River lagoonsystemon Florida'sAtlantic coast,includingIndian River

lagoon and Banana River lagoon. Dots show locationsof water level recorders' lateral lines
define segments1-16 in Indian River lagoonand segmentslb-3b in BananaRiver
174 Flexible Grid Model

Neither of the above studiesincorporatedBananaRiver due to a lack of information

on tidal conditions. Also, the flushingmodelassumeda completemixing of water
movingfrom one segmentto the next, as havemostof the earliertidal prismmodels.
This third studyexpandsthe geographic scopeof earlierwork on IndianRiver lagoon
by incorporatingthe exchangeof water betweenthe northern sub-basinand Banana
River lagoon. Also, the model usedhere has a flexible grid that controlsthe extent
to which segmentboundaries move alongthe longitudinalaxis of the lagoonwith the
ebb and flood of the tide. When the grid flexesfreely with the longitudinalflow, no
advectivetransportfrom one segmentto the next results,and transportis by diffusion
only. When the grid is fixed and inflexible,advectivetransportbetweenadjacent
segmentsis similar to that specifiedin the tidal prism models. In that case,diffusion
is not considered.

Indian River lagoon is well understoodin terms of tidal dynamics(Smith, 1987,

1990), but a dearthof hydrographicdata has preventedthe verificationof resultsof
flushing studies(Sherigand others, 1990, Smith, 1993c). Models can be useful in
the diagnostic mode for gaining insight, however, even while the data base
necessaryfor verification is being assembled. The model used in this study is
intendedto quantify flushingrates, not elucidatethe dynamicsof the lagoon. For
that, one must turn to hydrodynamicmodels.

The scopeof this studyis intentionallyrestrictedto flushingin responseto two-way

lagoon-shelf exchanges. Fresh water effects are consideredin other studies (see
Smith, 1993c). The specificaims of the studyare to obtainflushingestimatesof
flushing rates for the three sub-basinsof Indian River lagoon and Banana River
lagoon,and to comparethe assumption of completemixing with the assumption
mixing occursby diffusion only.


Water level recordsfrom the 31 locationsshownin Figure 1 were obtainedbetween,

1969 and 1992 usingStevensModel A andModel F analogrecorders, anda Stevens
Model 7031 digital recorder.Water levels were read to the nearest0.1 cm or 0.01
foot (0.3 cm). Time seriesvaried in length,but most were betweentwo and three
monthslong. All recordsprovidedinformationon the nontidalrise andfall in lagoon
water level (Smith, 1986); longer time series,in excessof one year, were used to
characterize seasonalcycles.
The surfaceareasof Indian River and BananaRiver lagoonsrepresented by each of
the 31 study sites were determinedusing a compensatingpolar planimeter and
navigationalcharts. Studysiteswere not distributeduniformly,and individualwater
level time seriesrepresented
surfaceareasof from 1.4 to 98.0 km2. Someof the
smaller segmentswere combined,especially near the inlets, where small volumes
could be completelyflushedwithin the one-hourtime stepsusedin the simulations.
In its final form, the modelincludedthreesegments
in BananaRiver lagoonand
Smith 175

segmentsin Indian River lagoon, as shownin Figure 1. The model doesnot require
data from a densenetwork of tide gauges. The necessarynumberis that requiredto
reproducethe spatial variability of amplitudesand phase angles for the principal
tidal constituents.

Historical water level records were also used to quantify low frequency nontidal
variations in lagoon water level. Eight years of data from a water level recorder
located in segment11 indicatedthat in the interior of the lagoon 95% of the high
and low tide levels are within 20 cm of medianvalues. Histogramsconstructedfrom
tidal predictions (not shown) indicate that diurnal inequalities, combined with
spring-neaptide conditions,explain about half of this variability. The rest can be
attributedto nontidal processes. Shortertime seriesfrom throughoutIndian River
were used to characterizeboth the time scalesof the low frequencyrise and fall in
lagoon water level and the magnitudeof the local nontidal fluctuations.

Currentmeasurements from the southernend of BananaRiver lagoon,made with a

GeneralOceanicsModel 2010 film recordinginclinometer,were usedto confirm that
tidal and nontidal exchangesbetween Indian River segment4 and Banana River
segment3b were being simulatedproperly. Figure 2 is a compositeof total (top),
tidal (middle) and low-pass filtered nontidal currents (bottom) based on
measurements madeover a 52-dayperiodin early, 1983. Amplitudesof the principal
tidal constituentswere comparedto the flood and ebb currentspeedsgeneratedby
the model in the absenceof nontidal exchanges. Nontidal currents,shown at the
bottomof Figure2, aregenerallywithin+20 cm s-1. The restricted cross-sectional
areaat thesouthernendof Banana Riverforceda +17 cms-1 currentspeedwhena
+20 cm variationin sea level and an extinctioncoefficientof 0.003 h m-• (see
equation3) were used in the model.


Harmonicanalysis(Dennisand Long, 1971) providedthe amplitudesand local phase

anglesneededto identify six principaltidal constituents(M2, S2, N2, K1, O1 and
P1). Theseharmonicconstantswere usedin turn to predict water levels neededto
quantify the hour-by-hour tide-induced changes in volume for each segment
(Schureman,1958). When time seriesfrom individualstudysiteswere longerthan
about35 days,analysesof overlapping29-day time periodsprovideda sampleof
amplitudes and phase angles which could be vector-averaged,as suggestedby
Haurwitz and Cowley (1975), to obtain a more representativemeasure of the

Low frequency variations in coastal sea level over time scales on the order of one
week are frequentenoughand of sufficientmagnitudeto augmenttidal flushingin a
meaningful way, especially in the northern sub-basin, where tidal motions are
significantlydamped. Low frequencywater level variationspenetratefurtherinto
176 Flexible Grid Model



-120 ...... ! ...... ! ...... ! ...... t ...... ! ............ ! ,,,

14 21 28 4 11 18 •5 4


2'1...... 2'8
...... 1 ......
1',...... ,'•...... 2'5...... lMARCH



Figure 2. Compositeof currentmeter data recordedat the southernend of segment3b in

BananaRiver lagoon, January15 to March 8, 1983. Total along-channelcomponentflow is
shownat the top of the composite,the predictedtide is givenby the middle plot and the low-
passfiltered nontidalflow appearsat the bottom. Positive along-channelspeedsindicate flow
into Banana River lagoon.

lagoon and thus can impactareasbeyondthe reach of tidal exchanges.Time scales

of nontidalwater level variationswere specifiedusingplots (not shown)of low-pass
filtered time seriesof water level recordedthroughoutthe lagoon. In some cases,
low frequency variations in lagoon water level are of lower amplitude in summer
months than in fall and winter months,but a distinct seasonalitydoes not appear
consistentlyin time seriesfrom different locationsand different years. In general,
the nontidal rise and fall in lagoon water level relative to the local seasonalmean is
5-10 cm, with higher valuesoccurringcloseto inlets (Smith, 1986). In some cases,
the range in low frequencywater level in the interior of the lagooncan reach 15-20
cm, but low frequencyvariationsgreaterthan _+20cm are rare.

Low frequencywater level variationswere modeledusing

Xm)] (1)
Smith 177

whereAm is theamplitude of thenontidalwaterlevelin themth segment, t is time,

x is thetimelagof highwaterin themthsegment relativeto thatat thenearest inlet,
and T is the period of the nontidal water level variation. The doubleprime notation
is usedto denotenontidalprocesses.
Thetimelag in themth segment
by assumingthat low frequencywater level fluctuationsmove through the lagoon as
shallow-water waves:

in Xj
Xm= j=l
• (gHj)1/2' (2)
where g is gravity, H is the mean depth of the segmentand x is the length of the
segmentalong the longitudinalaxis of the lagoon. An unpublished157-day study of
nontidal water level variations in the northern sub-basin of Indian River showed an
average time delay of just under 5 hours for water levels recorded in segment4
relativeto segment
8. Thisis equivalent
to a propagation
speedof about8 km h-1.
Whilethisimpliesa meandepthof only0.2 m, thisspeedis withinthe5-10km h-1
range of M2 tidal wave speedsfound throughoutthe lagoon (Smith, 1987). The
spatial decreasein amplitude of low frequencywater level fluctuationswas modeled
as an exponentialextinction:

Am= Aoex
p( -k j=l
), (3)

where Ao is the amplitudeof the low frequencywater level variation at the inlet. A
valueof 0.003h m-• wasusedfor theextinction
k. By combining
extinctioncoefficientwith the ratio of the distanceto the period of the low frequency
fluctuation, the decreasein amplitude is relatively small at locations near inlets, and
for sufficientlylong periodicities.
The intertidalvolumeof themth segment,
Vm, is obtained
fromtheproductof the
surfacearea, S, and the sum of the tidal and nontidalwater levels, assming that the
surfacearea of the segmentdoesnot vary with water level:

Vm: Sm(Tl"in
+ Tl'in
) (4)
where the prime notationrefers to tidal fluctuations.

To quantify the flushing of Indian River lagoon, the simulationsbegin with the
assumptionthat the lagoon is filled with "lagoonwater"- an undefinedmixture of
fresh and salt water. The time required for tidal and low frequency nontidal
exchangesto replace half of the lagoon water with new oceanwater is referred to as
the "50% renewal time," Rs0. This time interval can be determinedfor the lagoon as
a whole, for specific sub-basins,or for any individual segment. With both tidal
178 Flexible Grid Model

nontidal exchanges, the fraction of new ocean water at a given location can
fluctuate significantly over time scaleson the order of several hours to several days,
as new ocean water slowly replaces lagoon water. Thus, RS0 is defined to be the
midpoint between the first time the new ocean water fraction reaches50% and the
last time a fraction below 50% is recorded.

The Model

The one-dimensionalnumerical model used to quantify flushing incorporatesboth

advective and diffusive transportterms. In differential form, the time rate of change
in an ocean water tracer, T, is given by

3T 3T 32T
= U' + Kx (5)
3t 3x 3x2 '

where U' is the cross-sectionally averagedcurrentspeedin the x-directionrelative to

the movement of a flexible boundary separating two segments, and Kx is a
longitudinal diffusion coefficient, given by

Kx = 63cr UrnR5/6 (6)

(McDowell and O'Connor, 1977), where Cris Manning'sroughnesscoefficientand R
is the hydraulic radius. The ocean water tracer can be expressed in parts per
thousand and treated exactly like salinity. The diffusion coefficient varies
in bothspace
andtime. Themeanforthelagoonwasabout40 m2 s-1,
but mean valuesnear inlets were nearly double this value. In the northernpart of the
themeanwas10-15m2 s-1.
The cross-sectionally-averagedcurrent speed at segment boundaries is calculated
using a finite difference form of the continuity equation:
1 rn
Um = •_•Vj, (7)
where the summationgives the hourly changeof the volume of the lagoon landward
of the lateral cross-section,and A m is the cross-sectionalarea of the seaward side of
the mth segment.The cross-sectionally-averaged
currentspeedis relatedto the
relative speedgiven in Equation(5) by

U' =nUm, (8)

where n can vary from 0.0 to 1.0. A value of 0.0 producesa segmentboundarythat
expandsand contractsfreely with the ebb and flood of the total current(tidal
Smith 179

nontidal). This will restrict the accumulationof new ocean water to that resulting
from longitudinaldiffusion. A value of 1.0 producesinflexible (stationary)segment
boundaries, and the accumulation of new ocean water will occur as a result of
advection only.

Both the central and southernsub-basinsof Indian River lagoon are served by two
inlets. In these cases,phase angles of the M2 tidal constituent (Smith, 1987) were
used to determine the segmentswith maximum phase lags relative to the rise and
fall of the tide at the nearest inlet, and Um was calculated with the boundary
condition that no long-term net transportoccurredthroughthe interior segmentwith
the greatestphase lag.


Results are sub-divided into two parts. In the first part, simulations trace the
accumulationof new ocean water in the Indian River lagoon system, including
Banana River lagoon, which is treated as a fourth sub-basin. Two simulations
comparethe assumptionsof no intersegmentadvective transport(n = 0 in equation
(8)), then complete advective mixing (n = 1). These assumptionscorrespondto
completelyflexible and completelyinflexible segmentboundaries,respectively. In
the secondpart of this section,a seriesof simulations,basedon the assumptionof no
advective transport,comparesthe rates of accumulationof ocean water individually
for the three sub-basinsof Indian River lagoonand for BananaRiver lagoon.

Figure 3 showsthe accumulationof new ocean water in the Indian River lagoon
systemunder the assumptionof completely inflexible segmentboundaries(curve a)
and completely flexible boundaries(curve b). Simulationswere based on observed
tidal conditions,and coastalsea level varied between+20 and -20 cm with a period
of 168 hours. Resultsindicatethat at the end of a one-yearsimulationthe renewal of
new ocean water resulting from unrestrictedadvective transport(curve a) is 167% of
the renewal occurringin responseto transportassociatedwith longitudinaldiffusion
only. The 50% renewal time indicatedby curve (a) is approximately140 days,
while Rs0 for curve (b) has not been determinedat the end of the simulation.

CombiningBananaRiver lagoonwith the three sub-basinsof Indian River lagoonto

quantify flushing by lagoon-shelfexchangesfor the Indian River lagoon systemas a
whole maskssignificantdifferencesin flushingrates of individual sub-basins.A final
seriesof simulationsconsidersflushingindividually for BananaRiver lagoonand for
the three sub-basins of Indian River lagoon, as defined by the three inlets that
connectthe lagoon with shelf watersof the Atlantic Ocean. In thesesimulations,the
three segmentsin direct contact with the three inlets were not included. They flush
almost completely on each tidal cycle, and with the exceptionof segment 16 it was
not clear how a given segment should be sub-divided and assigned to the two
180 Flexible Grid Model


•o 40

• 20

' I ' I ' I ' I

0 100 200 300 400

Simulation Length, Da},s

Figure3. Compositeshowingthe accumulation of new oceanwater in the Indian River lagoon

system (three sub-basinsof Indian River lagoon plus Banana River lagoon), assuming
completemixing of water advectedinto a new segment(curve a) and no advectiondue to
flexible segmentboundaries(curve b). Simulationsinclude tidal exchangesand assume
coastalsea level variationsof +20 cm with a periodof sevendays.

Figure 4 summarizesresultsfor the four sub-basinsindividually and revealsdistinct

differences in flushing rates. The southernand central sub-basinsof Indian River
lagoon accumulatenew sea water at relatively rapid rates. Curves (a) and (b)
indicateRs0 valuesof approximately5 and 12 days,respectively.In the lower part of
the plot, curves (c) and (d), representingthe northern sub-basinof Indian River
lagoon and BananaRiver lagoon,respectively,indicatedecidedlyslower flushing
rates. By the end of the one-year simulation,both sub-basinscontain less than 30%
new ocean water. It is of interest to note that initially the accumulation of new
ocean water in Banana River lagoon is much slower than the accumulationof new
ocean water in the northern sub-basinof Indian River lagoon. This is because
BananaRiver lagoongetsits oceanwater throughsegment4 of Indian River lagoon
(see Figure 1), which in turn is well removedfrom SebastianInlet. Once new ocean
water has begun to accumulate in segment 4, however, Banana River lagoon
accumulates ocean water faster than does the northern sub-basin of Indian River
lagoon. This is becausethe total volume of segments1-3 in Indian River lagoonis
one-third greater than the total volume of BananaRiver lagoon. The crossingof the
curvesafter about 340 days is probablynot physicallymeaningful,however, given
the very slow rates at which both sub-basinsaccumulatenew ocean water through
Smith 181




0 100 200 300 4•0


Figure 4. Same as Figure 3, but for the southern (curve a), central (curve b) and northern
(curve c) sub-basins of Indian River lagoon; and for Banana River lagoon (curve d).
Simulationsassumeda completelyflexible grid and no net advectivetransportof sea water.


Results from this study quantify the expected differences between flushing rates
calculated with unrestricted advective transport, and flushing rates calculated with
no advective transport of water between segments. While the flushing rates
themselves,whether for the lagoon system as a whole or for individual sub-basins,
are undoubtedlysubjectto revision in view of the roles played by freshwateroutflow
(Smith, 1993c), wind stress(Sheng et al., 1990) and densitycurrents(Smith, 1990),
the divergenceof the curvesin Figure 3 suggeststhat the specificationof transportis
an importantfeature of any flushingmodel.

While it is temptingto follow Wood (1979) and use partial advectivetransport(i.e.,

intermediate values of n) to represent intersegment transfers associated with
freshwateroutflow or with wind-drivenor density-driventransport,suchprocessesare
more appropriately investigated explicitly with a hydrodynamic model than
implicitly with a model based on the continuity equation. Similarly, it is better
182 Flexible Grid Model

use a model that sub-divideslateral cross-sectionsto account explicitly for flood-

dominantand ebb-dominantlayersand channelsthan to use valuesfor n (equation8)
lying betweenzero and unity. Thus, as hydrographicdatabecomeavailableto verify
simulations,it will be preferableto pursuethe investigationof lagoonalflushingwith
a hydrodynamicmodel than to searchfor a best-fit value of n.

Three limitationsshouldbe kept in mind when usinga model basedon the continuity
equation. First, while one can reproducetidal flushing with considerableaccuracy,
one learnsmore about effects of tidal flushing than about its causes. The dynamics
of flushingare not addressed.A secondlimitationstemsfrom the modersinability
to incorporatefreshwatereffects, whetherassociatedwith rainfall, surfacerunoff or
groundwater seepage. The boundary condition specifying the speed of the
longitudinal flow relative to the speed of the segmentboundary (equation 7)
determineswhat percent of the longitudinal transportwill be retained in a given
segment. Thus, when a segmentcontainsa quasi-steadyfreshwatersource,even a
partial retentionresultsin the quasi-steadygrowthof the segment. Segmentsin the
interior of the lagoon will eventually expand to the point where they force other
segmentsout of the lagoonthroughthe inlets. Only with tidal and/orlow frequency
co-oscillating flow patterns will segmentsalternately expand and contract, and
therebyretain manageablesizes. Finally, this approachdoesnot quantifythe long-
term net transportthroughthe interior of a lagoon betweeninlets of unequalsize
(van de Kreeke and Cotter, 1974). In the caseof Indian River lagoon,however,this
will occur only in the central and southernsegmentsof the lagoon, where flushing
rates are akeady relatively high.

Even with a model that is restrictedto flushingby lagoon-shelfexchanges,however,

distinctly different rates at which the four sub-basinsreceive new ocean water
(Figure 4) suggestthat the regular renewal of ocean water in the central and
southern sub-basins occurs substantially faster than in the northern sub-basins,
includingBananaRiver lagoon. Indeed, incorporatingfreshwatersourcesand sinks
has the effect of establishinga net outflow that opposesthe importation of new
ocean water and reduces the 50% renewal time still further. Smith (1993c) found
50% renewal times of less than one week for the southern sub-basin of Indian River
lagoon, but still well in excessof one year for the northernsub-basinunder high
rainfall conditions.

Acknowledgement.Water level recordsfrom 17 of the 31 studysiteswere collected

and providedby the National Ocean Service (NOS); additionalwater level records
were provided by the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Veto Beach,
Florida. Ms. Elizabeth Smith assembledand edited the NOS portion of the data
base. Partial supportfor this work was provided by the Florida Departmentof
Environmental Regulation through Contract No. CM-118, and by the Florida
Departmentof Natural Resourcesthrough Grant AgreementNo. 6598. Harbour
BranchOceanographic Institution,ContributionNumber
Smith 183


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Sheng, Y.P., S. Peene and Y.M. Liu, Numerical modeling of tidal hydrodynamicsand salinity
transportin the Indian River lagoon. Florida Sci, 53, 147-168, 1990.
Smith, N.P. The rise and fall of the estuarine intertidal zone. Estuaries 9, 95-101, 1986.
Smith, N.P. An introduction to the tides of Florida's Indian River lagoon. I. Water levels.
Florida Sci, 50, 49-61, 1987.
Smith, N.P. Tidal and wind-driven transport between Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon,
Florida. Florida Sci, 56,235-246, 1993a.
Smith, N.P. The intertidalvolme of Florida'sIndian River lagoon. Florida Sci, 55, 209-218,
Smith, N.P. Tidal and nontidal flushingof a Florida'sIndian River Lagoon. Estuaries 16, 739-
746, 1993c.
Stommel, H. and A.B. Arons, A mixing length theory of tidal flushing. Trans AGU, 32, 419-
421, 1951.
van de Kreeke, J. and D.C. Cotter, Tide-induced mass transport in lagoon-inlet systems.
Proc. Conf.CoastalEngr., 2290-2301, 1974.
Wood, T. A modification of existing simple segmentedtidal prism models of mixing in
estuaries. Est Coastal Mar Sci 8, 339-347,

Circulation and Transportin SarasotaBay,

Florida: The Effect of Tidal Inlets on
EstuarineCirculationand FlushingQuality
Y. P. Sheng,S. PeeneandE. Yassuda


Using field data obtained in 1991, a three-dimensional numerical model of

circulationand transportis developedand utilized to investigatethe effectsof tidal
inlets on the circulationand flushingin the SarasotaBay systemof the study. In
particular,the model is usedto assessthe potentialimpactof the openingof a small
tidal inlet, Midnight Pass. Results indicate that the degree of flushing in various
segmentsof the estuarydependson their locationswith respectto the tidal inlets.
Areaswith poor flushingalsohave low visibility in water. If Midnight Passwere to
be opened,flushing in the area behind the Passwill significantlyimprove, while
flushing in Roberts Bay area will actually deteriorate, because of the northward
movementof the null zone from the Midnight Passarea.


Tidal inlets link numerous shallow estuaries in Florida and the coastal ocean. The
opening or closure of a tidal inlet can significantly affect the circulation and water
quality within an estuary. On the other hand, the stability of a tidal inlet is affected
by the tidal prismin variouspartsof an estuarinesystem. This paperpresentsa study
on the effect of tidal inlets on the circulationand water quality in the SarasotaBay
system(including SarasotaBay and Little SarasotaBay), which is a multiple-inlet
shallow(averagedepthis2m) coastallagoonlocatedin SouthwestFlorida (Figure 1).

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages184-210
Copyright1996 by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion

Shenget al. 185

Sincethe closureof Midnight Pass(Figure 2) in 1984, there has been degradationof

water quality in Little Sarasota Bay. Recent measurement of DO (Dissolved
Oxygen) over a 7-day period behind the closed Midnight Pass showed diurnal
fluctuation between 1 and 8 ppm (Figure 3). The concentrationwas below 4 ppm
much of the time, althoughthe early morning data were generally between 6 and 8
ppm. To improve the water quality of the Little SarasotaBay, it has been suggested
that the Midnight Passbe reopened. One objectiveof this studyis to investigatethe
potential impact of the openingof Midnight Passon the circulationand water quality
in the estuarine system. Another objective is to determine if dredging of the
IntraCoastalWaterway (ICW) contributedto the closureof the Midnight Pass.



Sarasota Bay

Little Sarasota Bay

• to

83o00'W 82o27,W

Figure 1. Map and curvilinear grid of the Sarasota/TampaBay systemin Florida.

186 Circulation and Transportin SarasotaBay

82o31 '

•.i Key:•.••,'•-P•,_.•".

• .. . ß .: % '..'•.

•• ":'"
"';'... \ ..
'. ..'. .; . -..':'

ß.-.;•..: •"
":"•: •z ";"':':"i.
Heron •-'l I.") • [ r-; -.(.."-' I

:.ii' •!m :;.':

Pass .'
': Bird


• I :'

Blackburn Point

82o29 '

Figure2. Mapof MidnightPassandLittleSarasota

Bayin Sarasota
Sheng et al. 187

Location: Little Sarasota Bay (Behind Midnight Pass)

a 20

ß t 'V '
Sept. 5, 1991 - Sept. 11, 1991

Figure 3. Dissolvedoxygen levels in Little SarasotaBay during September5 to September11,


Estuarine Circulation and Tidal Inlets

Estuaries are semi-enclosed water bodies where salt water from the ocean is
measurably diluted by fresh water from the tributaries (Cameron and Pritchard,
1963). Estuarine circulation is driven by tide, wind, and density variation in the
water, while influenced by geometry and bathymetry of the basin and rotation of the
earth. Tides in estuariesare primarily forced by ocean tides at the entrance of the
estuaries,i.e., tidal inlets. In large coastalwater bodies (e.g., Gulf of Mexico), tides
result from direct gravitationalforcing by the sun and the moon as well as forcing at
the open boundaries(e.g., Yucatan Channel and Florida Straits).
Tides propagate as long waves in the ocean and estuaries and are reflected and
dissipatedby the boundaries. In an estuary where the basin length is less than the
1/4-wavelengthof tidal propagation(e.g., Tampa Bay and SarasotaBay), water level
in the entire estuaryfluctuatesup and down simultaneously(i.e., in phase)during the
"flood" cycle and "ebb" cycle. When the basin length is near 1/4 of the tidal
wavelength (e.g., Long Island Sound), near resonance occurs such that tidal
amplitude increaseswhile tidal current decreasesfrom the ocean entrancetoward the
river (Ippen and Harlemen,1966). If the basinlength exceedsthe 1/4-wavelengthof
tidal propagation(e.g., JamesRiver estuaryin Virginia), part of the basin may be in
"flood" cycle while other part of the basin is in "ebb" cycle. When the natural
frequencyof a basin (e.g., Gulf of Mexico) is comparableto a tidal period (e.g., the
diurnal period), the tidal constituentis amplified. This is why tides on the Gulf coast
of Florida consist of a mixture of semi-diurnal tides (M2 and S2) and diurnal tides
188 Circulation and Transportin SarasotaBay

(O1, K1 and P1), while tides on the Atlantic coast of Florida are semi-diurnal (M2
and S2).

Tidal circulationsare modified due to the effects of wind and densitystructurein the
water. The wind enhancesvertical mixing, creates vertical flow structure (e.g.,
surface flow in the downwind direction and bottom flow in the upwind direction),
causesset-up or set-downin water level, and alters the residual circulationpatterns.
While wind- and fide-driven currentscan affect the distributionof temperatureand
salinity in estuaries, the resulting density structure can in turn induce baroclinic
circulation to significantly modify the flow field.
Classical tidally-averaged estuarine circulation consistsof seaward flow of fresh
water near the surface and landward flow of ocean water near the bottom (Hansen
and Rattray, 1965). Depending on the relative importanceof tidal mixing with
respect to the river flow, vertical salinity structure in estuaries may be highly
stratified(low tidal mixing), well mixed (strongtidal mixing), or partially stratified
(intermediate). However, circulation in estuariesis highly dynamic. Significant
vertical stratification may occur even in well mixed estuaries. Thus, the effect of
densitygradienton estuarinecirculationmustbe consideredwhen studyinglong-term
residual circulation (Zimmerman, 1978) in estuaries.

Most U.S. estuaries are coastal plain (drowned valley) estuariesand are quite
shallow, typically consisting of a deep navigation channel where significant
stratification exists and shallow adjacent fiats where salinity and temperatureare
generallywell mixed. Salt intrusiontakesplaceprimarily within the bottomwater of
the deep navigationchannel.Recent studiesin ChesapeakeBay (Sheriget at., 1989a;
Johnsonet at., 1989) and TampaBay (Sheriget at., 1992) showedthat currentsin the
navigation channel are generallyparallel to the channel and gradientsin salinity and
velocity exist acrossthe channel. Transportsof momentumand salinity along the
channelare generally more importantthan the cross-channeltransports.
In a multiple inlet estuarinesystemsuch as the SarasotaBay system,tides enter
from various inlets and can interactwith each other. The geometryand bathymetry
of tidal inlets have significant effect on various aspects of estuarine circulation
including tidal currents,tidal prism, tidal flushing, and residual flow, which in turn
affect the water quality dynamics in an estuarine system. For example, tidal
pumping(Fischeret at., 1979) often causesinterestingresidualcirculationpatterns
and gyres near tidal inlets. Null zones with little flow and mixing may be formed in
areas far from tidal inlets, thus causing poor flushing and water quality there. To
effectively manage an estuarine system, it is essential to identify null zones with
poor water quality. One objectiveof this studyis to identify areaswith poor flushing
within the SarasotaBay system.
Estuarine circulation can in turn affect the stability of tidal inlets. Davis et at.,
(1987) hypothesizedthat the closingof the Midnight Passin 1984 was causedby the
dredging of the IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW), which contributedto reduced tidal
prism throughthe Pass. In this study, we will examinewhether dredgingled to the
closureof thePassandquantifythe potentialimpactof reopeningof theMidnight Pass.
Shenget al. 189

Studies on estuarine circulations generally involve field experiment, laboratory

physical modeling, and numerical modeling. Field experiment involves the
measurementsof various meteorological parameters (e.g., wind, air temperature,
atmosphericpressure,and solar radiation, etc.) and hydrodynamicparameters(e.g.,
water level, water currents,temperature,and salinity, etc.) over long time. However,
due to the inherent scaling problem and the high maintenancecost, physical models
have been gradually replacedby numerical models as the primary tool for estuarine
studies. Numerical models of estuarine circulation of various (one, two, three)
dimensionshave been developed. Some of the recent estuarinecirculation models,
e.g., the ChesapeakeBay model (Sheng et al., 1989a, Johnsonet al., 1989), utilize
curvilinear grid that conforms to the complex shorelinesand bathymetry of estuaries,
thus giving more accurateresults than the rectangular-gridmodels. We will use a
similar three-dimensional curvilinear grid circulation model (Sheng and Peene,
1991) for this study.

Effectof Circulationon Water QualityDynamics

In many U.S. estuariesand lakes, increasedexternal loading of nutrients through

tributaries and rivers has led to accelerated eutrophication, seagrass loss, and
reduced fishery production. For example, three decades of increased loading of
nutrients has resulted in extensive area of anoxia (zero oxygen concentration)and
hypoxia (low oxygen concentration)in ChesapeakeBay during the summermonths.
Hillsborough Bay in Florida also has an extensive area of hypoxia in summer.
Tomasko (1992: personalcommunication)attributedthe causefor seagrassloss in
Sarasota Bay to increase in epiphytic algae population, which resulted from
increasednutrient loading.
Nutrients entering an estuary may undergo a series of advection-deposition-
resuspension-transformation processesbefore residing at a low-energy location or
entering the ocean. Thus, nutrientsentering an estuarymay actually affect the water
quality at a location sufficiently far away from the river entrance, instead of that
immediately near the river. To develop a rational managementplan for estuarine
resources,it is essentialto be able to first quantify the transportof nutrientsand other
water quality parametersin an estuaryunder its presentcondition. This requires an
extensive amount of field and laboratorydata and numerical modeling.
Due to the site-specific nature of the nutrient transport processes,water quality
models for one estuary may not be readily applicable to another estuary. Models
developedfor the deeper and temperateestuariesin the north are not expectedto be
applicable to the shallow Florida estuaries. In shallow Florida estuaries,physical
processeshave much strongereffects on the water quality processesand many of the
water quality problemsare not driven by phytoplanktonalgae, but by epiphytic algae
and macroalgae. Althoughwater quality modelingis not attemptedin this study,we
will use results of the circulation model to conductflushing calculationsthat could
help to locate areasof poor light intensityand water quality.
190 Circulation and Transportin SarasotaBay

Field Study

To investigatethe potentialimpact of openingof the Midnight Pass,we conducteda

field and modeling study of the SarasotaBay system to first quantify existing
hydrodynamicconditions. Continuousdata of wind, current, temperature,salinity
and Optical Back Scatterwere collectedat four platforms(UF-01, UF-02, UF-03 and
UF-04) duringone 2-monthperiodin 1991. In 1992, data were measuedat the same
four staionsplus a new stationUF-05.
Figure 4 shows the locationsof the data stationsmaintainedby the University of
Florida and USGS and NOAA/NOS. USGS obtained tidal level data at several
locations (Anna Maria Sound, SarasotaBay East, SarasotaBay West, Roberts Bay
and Big Pass,etc.) in 1990 and 1991. The 1991 field experimentcoincidedwith an
intensivefield programby NOAA/NOS in the adjacentTampa Bay, which include
measurementsof vertical profiles of current and salinity at many stations using
RADS acousticdopplersystem.

UF-05 0







Figure 4. Locationsof datastationsof the Universityof Florida, USGS andNOAA/NOS.

Sheriget al. 191

Field data showed that tidal circulation in Sarasota Bay is forced by tides at the
Anna Maria Sound,Long Boat Pass,New Pass,Big Pass,and Venice Inlet. Tides at
the openboundariesare composedof semi-diurnal(M2 and S2) and diurnal (O1, K1,
and P1) componentswith relatively low tidal amplitudes(40-80 cm) and slight (less
than 1 hour) shift in tidal phases.
Field data indicated that strong currents exist within the tidal inlets, and tide
propagation into the estuary is strongly influenced by the inlet configuration.
Spectral analysis of long-term current data showed that 80% of the energy is
associatedwith the tides, while 20% of the energy is associatedwith the wind and
baroclinicity. Circulation within the shallow estuarinesystemis strongly influenced
by thenavigation
up to I m s-1 couldbe foundwithinthe
navigationchannel(about 36-10 m deep), whereascurrentsin the adjacentshallows
(0.3 to I m) are much weaker.

Interesting residual flow patterns have also been observed. For example, the low
pass current-filtereddata at Station 1 in Anna Maria Sound (Figure 5) showed a
persistentnorth to southflow during July and August 1991. Although the filtered
wind velocity was primarily from southto north, both the near-surfaceand the near-
bottom residual currents were from north to south. An examination of the current and
salinity data obtained from the area (Figure 6) suggeststhat the residual transport
from north to southmay containlow-salinity water from Manatee River, which is the
largestsourceof freshwaterin the vicinity. Thus, the north to southresidualcurrent
is primarily driven by tidal action (nonlinearityand tidal pumping) and freshwater
flow from Manatee River, and is counteredby the southto north wind-driven flow.
Near-bottom currentsat Station 2 near Whittaker Bayou, and Station 4 in Blackburn
Bayareshownin Figure7. At bothstations,
(10-30cm s-1)
dominateover the east-westcurrents(5-10 cm s-l). At Station2 and Station4,
salinity were well-mixed vertically and fluctuatedbetween 32 and 34 ppt during this
time period. At Station3, salinityvariedmore significantlybetween24-29 ppt due
to the influence of freshwaterfrom fiver and rain. Nevertheless,spectralanalysis of
current data showed that 80% of the energy is associatedwith fides with less than
20% energy associatedwith wind and baroclinicity.

i i i I i
Wind Velocity
o 20 Near-Bottom Velocity :
•--,, Near-Surface Velocity :'
, ,•.. ,, •, ,.-, ,,--,x, ,;
• 0 '..•,.,' .., • ', ,..-.,,.•_•_.,' ',, ,..,'"',.....' ',. ...'--, /; _

u.I -20
; /
! ! I ! V' !
200 210 220 230 240 250 260


Figure 5. Filtered (by a fourth order Butterworthfilter, which removed all tidal constituents
with 24-hourperiodor less)near-surface current,near-bottomcurrentand 3% of wind velocity
in the north-southdirection at UF Station 1 during Juliandays 200 through260, 1991
192 Circulationand Transportin SarasotaBay

36 ' , i , i , i , i , i ,

Anna Maria Sound Station (UF-01)

- 30 North-South Velocity ......
35- Salinity •

A ', .... , ;,,?,

,',, n• ,.,; , ,• d
,, , ,, ,,, .
, , ,, .- ,, ,
• 33 0



30 .
232 233 234 235 236

TIME (Julian Days)

Figure 6. Measurednear-surfacenorth-southcurrent and salinity at UF Station 1 (Anna Maria

Sound)during a 4-day periodin July 1991. Notice the significantsoutherlyresidualflow.

Near Whittaker Bayou Station (UF-02)
cn 20
• 10

O 0
>, -lO

:• -2o --

-30 I • I • I • I t I I I t I I I i t ,
204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214
TIME (Julian Days)
Blackburn Bey Station (UF-O4)

• lO

(.,3 o

u,i -113

Z04 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 2 3 •14
TIME (Julian Days)

Figure 7. Simulated(dashedline) and measured(solid line) north-southcurrentsat the bottom

layer at UF stations(a) near Whittaker Bayou and (b) in BlackburnBay during July 1991.
Solid line: data. Dashed line: model results.
Shenget al. 193

Modeling Study

Basedon the field data obtainedin 1990 and 1991 and the curvilinear-gridmodel
(CH3D) developedby Sherig(1987 and 1989), we developeda three-dimensional
numericalmodel of circulationand salinity transportin the Sarasota-TampaBay
system. A brief descriptionof the modelis given in AppendixA. The boundary-
fitted grid allows accuraterepresentation
of circulationand transportin the entire
estuarinesystem(Figure1), includingthe navigationchannels. The minimumgrid
spacing is 30 m. A time step of 60 sec was used for numerical simulations.
Boundaryconditionsincludedoffshoretidal forcingandriver flows.
Simulatednear-bottomcurrentsat Stations2 and 4 duringJulian days 204 to 214
were shownin Figure 7. Tidal elevationat the offshoreopenboundaryduringthis
periodis shownin Figure 8. During flood tide, oceanwaterentersthe SarasotaBay
throughall the passesand the Anna Maria Sound,creatingstrongflood currents,
particularlyin the Big Pass. During ebb tide, estuarinewater recedesinto the ocean
and createsstrongebb currents. Currentsin SarasotaBay betweenthe Longboat
Passand the New Passare generallymuchweakerthancurrentsin otherregions. As
an example,Figure9 showsthe vertically-integrated ebb currentsin SarasotaBay at
4 p.m. on Julianday 207, 1991.

40 I I I


20 Location:
ill o

u.I -20


-60 I I I ! I
200 202 204 206 208 210 212

TIME (Julian Days)

Figure8. Tidal elevationat the offshoreopenboundarynearSarasotaduringJuliandays200

to 211, 1991.
194 Circulationand Transportin SarasotaBay

Time- 4 p.m., Julian Day 207, 1991

Scalar: Water Level (cm)

. . ß

3.5 km
[ 25000

Figure9. Simulated
in Sarasota
Bayat 4:00p.m.onJulian
day 207 in 1991.

Sincetheprimaryfocusof thisstudyis thepotentialeffectof opening of Midnight

Passon circulation
andmixingin Little Sarasota
Bay,it is of interestto examinethe
simulatedand measuredcurrentsat Stations3 and 4. As shownin Figures10 and 11,
the basictrendsin measuredcurrentswere well simulatedby the model, althoughthe
"noises" in data are absent in model results.
Shenget al. 195


Location'UF- 03 ..... Data

Data Mean Value- -1.290
ModelMeanValueß-2.159 Model

10 k :",
:, .•x .,:\ ,,"'"',
LU• , '• , \, • :; "•


z -30
204 205 206 207 2118

Figure 10. (a) Simulatedand measurednear-surfacenorth-southcurrentat Station3 during

Julian days 204 to 208, 1991.

301 ' '

Location: UF - 03
• DataMeanValue:-1.915
' ' 'Model

• ,., ,,..,"-,
:',_0._•. .',., __• ..•, __

-10 - -


204 205 206 207 208


Figure 10. (b) Simulatedand measurednear-surfaceeast-westcurrent at Station 3 during

Julian days 204 to 208, 1991.
196 Circulationand Transportin SarasotaBay

>' 30
UF- 04 Data
0 20 DataMeanValue:-1.955 ' Model
Model MeanValue: -0.7644


uJ• 0

n- -10

n5 -20

z -30
20• 205 206 207 208

Figure 11. (a) Simulated and measurednear-surfacenorth-southcurrent at Station 4 during

Julian days 204 to 208, 1991.

!-- 30 ! I I i I I •
• { Location:
UF-04 Data
d 20
I Data
0.2728 Model
Model Mean Value: 0.4682


-20 -

I ! ! ! I I I
2( 14 205 206 207 208

Figure 11. (b) Simulated and measurednear-surfaceeast-westcurrent at Station 4 during

Julian days 204 to 208, 1991.
Shenget al. 197

Earlier, Sheng and Peene (1991) developed a three-dimensional model of tidal

circulation in SarasotaBay, based on the CH3D model developedby Sheng et al.
(1989a) for ChesapeakeBay. Using a numericalgrid for the SarasotaBay only (not
includingTampa Bay and Little SarasotaBay), they successfullysimulatedthe tidal
water level fluctuation at various stations, as shown in Table 1.

TABLE 1. Flushingrates of conservativeconstituentin 8 sectionsof the SarasotaBay System.

(Percentof Mass FlushedAfter 10 Days)



Before Present Pass

ICW Condition Open

1 1, 2 Anna Maria Sound 81 81 81

Cortez Bridge
2 3 Palma Sola Bay 31 31 31
3 4, 5, 6 LongboatPass 64 64 64
Tidy Island
4 7, 8 Middle SarasotaBay 32 32 32
5 9. 10, 11, 12 New Pass,Big Pass 81 81 81
Southern Portion of
6 13 RobertsBay 52 76 48
North Little SarasotaBay
7 14, 15 Little SarasotaBay 71 27 74
Midnight Pass
8 16 BlackburnBay . 70 . 72 . 83

Peene,Shengand Houston(1992) simulatedthe fide- and wind-drivencurrentsin the

SarasotaBay systemduring the passageof Tropical Storm Marco in October 1990
using the numerical grid shown in Figure 1. The numerical model simulated the
measuredwater level fluctuationsat the USGS stationsquite accurately (within 5-
14%). Simulated currentsat the NOS stationswere within 10-23% of the measured
data, due to the fact that the NOAA current meters were deployed in the deep
navigation channel, which was not well represented by the numerical grid. In
addition to the simulation of water and currents,we also computedthe concentration
of a conservativeconstituentduring Julian days 204 to 214 for the estimation of
flushing time in various parts of the estuarinesystem,with the Midnight Passclosed
(present condition) and opened (proposedcondition). The following conclusions
were derived from theseflushing calculations.
198 Circulation and Transportin SarasotaBay

Effectof NavigationChannelon Little SarasotaBay Circulation

Before 1956, there was no navigationchannel(ICW) in the SarasotaBay system.

To investigatethe impact of navigation channel on circulation in the SarasotaBay
system,we performedmodel simulationof tidal flushing of a conservativespeciesin
varioussegmentsof the Bay, first with the pre-1956bathymetry(with Midnight Pass
but no ICW) and then with the post-1956 but pre-1983 bathymetry (with ICW and
Midnight Pass). The model domainis divided into eight sections(Table 1) basedon
the 16 segmentsshownin Figure 12. At the beginningof a numericalsimulation
(e.g., a 12-dayperiodin July 1991 in this case),a conservative substanceof 30 ppt is
releasedinto all the numerical grid points within a section,while concentrationin all
other sections are given zero values. As the simulation proceeds,the relative
amountof conservativesubstance(as a percentageof the initial mass)remainingin
the section can be calculated.


Figure 12. SarasotaBay NEP study area segments.

Shenget al. 199

Relative tidal flushing rates in three sectionsof Little SarasotaBay were computed
with the pre-1956 bathymetryfirst. As shownin Figure 13, relative flushingthrough
the middle section(Segments14 and 15) was the fastest,while flushingthroughthe
northernsection (Segment 13) was the slowest,due to the presenceof a null zone
(stagnationpoint) there.


_Z 80

•" 20

205 2 7 208 209 210 211 212

TIME (Julian Days)

205 206 2 7 208 209 21Q 211 212

TIME (Julian Days)

TIME (Julian Days)

Figure 13. (a) Relative tidal flushingat Segment13, (b) Segments14 and 15, and
(c) Segment16 duringa 12-dayperiodwith pre-1956bathymetryand geometry.
in Sarasota

14. Flushing
in themiddleandsouthernsections,
aboutthesamein thenorthern
it wasreported
wasreduced, thiseffect
Figure14since Segments
14and15arecombinedin ourcalculation.
it is
to expect
to accelerate
the instability
andclosureof the inlet, thiseffectwas
wasin factclosed
of natural action.


2O7 2O8 • 2111 212

TIME (JulianDays)

2111 212
TIME (JulianDays)

0 • • t I I I I I I I I I I I
205 206 207 • 2139 210 211 212

14. (a)Relative
14and15,and(c) Segment
Pass open).
Shenget al. 201

The relative flushing rates in varioussegmentsof the SarasotaBay systemas shown

in Table 1 compare very well with the relative water quality map (Figure 15)
establishedfor SarasotaBay based on four bay-wide monitoring events, which
sampled numerous parameters (depth, secchi depth, extinction coefficient, color,
turbidity, total phosphorus,ortho phosphate, nitrate plus nitrite, total kjeldahl
nitrogen,total inorganiccarbon,total organiccarbon,and salinity).

Effect of Closure of Midnight Passon Little SarasotaBay

CirculationandWater Quality

Tidal flushingratesin the samethreesectionscomputedwith the presentbathymetry

are shownin Figure 16. SinceMidnightPassis presentlyclosed,tidal flushingin the
middle section is very poor. Flushing through the northern section was enhanced
from the pre-1983 condition, due to the elimination of the null zone (stagnation
point). Flushing through the southernsection was somewhatreduced. Measured
dissolvedoxygenconcentration in the area behindMidnight Passin 1991 (Figure 3)
showedunacceptablevaluesof 1 to 4 ppm duringmuch of the time.

Northern Portion of Area

Southern Portion of Stud• Area

Figure 15. Relative water quality for SarasotaBay segments. Shaded areas have the best;
stippled areas have intermediate;cross-hatchedareas have the poorest. (a) Northern and (b)
southernportionsof studyarea.
in Sarasota


•. 40

20 -

205 206 207 208 209 21o 211 212

TIME (Julian Days)


_z so

i- 40

205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212

TIME (Julian Days)

-• 80

m 60

•- 40

• I I I I I I I ! I I ! I I
205 20s 207 208 209 210 211 21:
TIME (JulianDays)

16. (a)Relative
a 12-day period
Shenget al. 203

PotentialInfluenceof Openingof Midnight Passon Circulation

andWater Qualityin Little SarasotaBay

The openingof Midnight Passwill significantlyalter the circulation patternsin the

Little SarasotaBay. Tidal fluxes (vertically-integrated currents) in the area are
shownfor the presentcondition(Figure 17) and the openedcondition(Figure 18).

• •. -' .• Present
•.' / FloodTide
•, .' . ( Midnight
ß VerticallyIntegrated

• •-' ." . ß ' ' ' • Present

•.' .' . // EbbTid,
•..' , ß' ' ( Midnight
ß ." . . ß ß VerticallyIntegrated

\ \' ..,,,,_..--\

Figure 17. Vertically-integrated currents at (a) flood tide and (b) ebb tide with present
in Sarasota

mayleadtoenhanced flushing
The enhanced flushingmeansthe waterqualitybehindthe MiddlePasswill be
improved.However,waterqualityin thenorthern sectionof Little
Baymayin factdeteriorate
dueto thereduced
arebasedon flushing
for a conservative
Midnight Passopening,
a comprehensive
effort should be undertaken.

, , ' ' /
•.' ,." ' • ,.•-• Midnight
x.•' ,\ .k-.x•' ' I Vertically


ß\ \ .X, , , , ,_k/ EbbTide

\ ,•' ,,x• :"•- • Midnight
'. • •.•.•.•,•
•'7'•, ' '} Vertically

'. i/1'

18. Vertically-integrated
Shenget al. 205

Inlet Stability

Based on data that date back to 1888, Midnight Passwas a natural opening, free to
migrateand to vary in cross-sectionalareas. Davis et al. (1987) documentedthe
locationsand variousnamesassignedto presentMidnight Passand other inlets in the
adjacentarea (Figure19). They statedthat tidal exchangebetweenLittle Sarasota
Bay and the Gulf of Mexico had not beendominatedby Midnight Passat any time.
On the otherhand, they also suggestedthat the dredgingof the ICW is the primary
reasonfor the deteriorationof Midnight Pass. However, they did not provide any
rigorousanalysisto validatetheir suggestion.Our modelingstudydid not confirm
their suggestioneither.

ß ' ' • '"•'i .......: . , •888
. ...?L2,,•--"
.,-t.' '•.. ß

.... , --
' '•'•'" ••:. ,.,..1921
_ ,..'•• BirdKeys_- • '•_
.. ,. :..' __ -•• _
'•%•lind Pa;s Casey

ß. -' ...... .'. ß •'."-r%

•- "•MiCnight
• Casey
'%' ' " ' '"'•" 2
ß .,, [: .,.. t. ß ,., ß ' ,•., . .., .
,.,L• , Bird
Key:• ff '>
••%2• •'L, ' :' •-' -' ' '- - -' -'•,
ß. ,•'½•_•'• ß-• c,.y Koy
"'" ' Midnight
Pass •

[.f•• Bird
Key• .....•" • "•.. :.
•'• •i•sta
'•' .... Casey
Key• '
I km


Figure19. Historicalinletpositions
in thevicinityof MidnightPass(Daviset al., 1987).
206 Circulationand Transportin SarasotaBay

A1 A2 A

Figure20. Escoffier

To studythe stabilityof a tidalinlet,onecanusethe simpleanalysis

of Escoffier
(1940). For a multipleinletsystem, the analysis
is morecomplicated
as shownby
vandeKreeke(1985). Basically,for a singleinlet system,oneneedsto calculatea
"closure curve" that relates the cross-sectionalarea of an inlet with the maximum
currentin theinletfor giventidalconditions,
Thenextstepis to compute anequilibriumvelocity(Ueq)at whichthe "sediment
capacity" of the inletcurrents
is just sufficient
to removethe sediment
in theinlet. Thus,asshown in Figure20, aninletwithcross-sectional
betweenA1 and infinity is a stableinlet, while the inlet becomesunstableif the
cross-sectionalarea is less than A1.

The closurecurveand the equilibrium

by usingsimpleempirical
by vandeKreeke(1992).
vande Kreeke(1990)pointedoutthatto determine theexactclosurefor a realtidal
inlet,it requires
a full-fledged
modelfor thehydrodynamics of the
inlet andthe bay. Existinginlet closurecurvesweredetermined by usingsimpler
modelsthat containthe unrealisticassumptionof a uniformlyfluctuatingbay level,
and are hencenot accurate. With the 3-D hydrodynamic
model developedin this
study,it is possible
to compute
curvefor MidnightPass.The3-D model
resultsshowedthat the maximumcurrentin MidnightPasscouldreachmorethan 1


A fieldandmodelingstudyonthecirculation
andtransport in Sarasota
conducted.This studyfocusedon the effectsof tidal inletson circulationand
Shenget al. 207

flushing in SarasotaBay. Based on the field data collected in 1991, a three-

dimensionalcirculationmodel of the SarasotaBay systemhas been developed.
Resultsof the study showedthat the inlets affect the SarasotaBay systemin several
ways. Due to the interactionof tides that enter from different inlets, null zones with
little flow are formed in Palma Sola Bay, the middle of SarasotaBay, and behind
the closed Midnight Pass in Little SarasotaBay. Flushing calculation showed low
flushing rates in these areas. Near the inlets, interestingresidual flow patternsare
observed. Persistent north-to-south residual flow has been observed at the Anna
Maria Station. Recent studies(Sherig and Peene, 1993 and Sherig et al., 1994)
showed that the southerly residual flow was caused by the combined actions of
nonlinear tidal circulation, wind and fresh water flow from Manatee River. The
southerlyresidualflow was successfullysimulated.
Using the 3-D circulation model, we examined the potential impact of opening
Midnight Pass. Model results showed that if Midnight Pass was to be reopened,
flushing behind Midnight Passwill improve. However, since the null zone is pushed
north, flushing in RobertsBay will decrease.

Acknowledgement This study is supportedby the SarasotaBay National Estuary

Program,U.S.Geological SurveyandSupercomputing
Centerof FloridaState University.


Cameron,W.M. and D.W. Pritchard,Estuaries,in The Sea, editedby M.N. Hill, 2, pp. 306-324,
Wiley, New York, 1963.
Davis, R.A., Jr., A.C. Hine, and M.J. Bland, Midnight Pass, Florida: Inlet Instability Due to
Man-Related Activities in Little SarasotaBay, CoastalSediments2062-2077, 1987.
Escoffier,F.F., The Stability of Tidal Inlets, ShoreandBeach, 8(4), 114-115, 1940.
Fischer,H.B., E.J. List, R.C.Y. Koh, J. Iraberger,and N.H. Brooks, 1979: Mixing in Inland and
Coastal Waters, Academic Press.
Hansen, D.V. and M. Rattray, Gravitational Circulation in Straits and Estuaries, J. Mar. Res.,
23, 104-122, 1965.
Ippen, A.T. and D.R.F. Harlemen, Tidal Dynamics in Estuaries,in Estuary and Coastline
Hydrodynamics,pp. 493-545, McGraw Hill, 1966.
Johnson, B., Y.P. Sheng, K. Kim, and R. Heath, Development of a Three-Dimensional
HydrodynamicModel of ChesapeakeBay, Estuarineand CoastalModeling edited by M.L.
Spaulding, pp. 162-171, ASCE, 1989.
Peene, S.J., Y.P. Sheng, and S. Houston, A Field and Modeling Study of Tidal and Storm
Wind-Driven Circulationin SarasotaBay, In Estuarineand CoastalModeling,pp. 357-368,
ASCE, 1992.
Sheng, Y.P. Numerical Modeling of Coastal and Estuarine ProcessesUsing Boundary-Fitted
Grids, Technical Memo No. 86-02, Aeronautical Research Associates of Princeton, N.J., 1986a.
Sheng,Y.P. On Modeling Three-DimensionalEstuarineand Marine Hydrodynamics,in Three-
DimensionalModels of Marine and Estuarine Dynamics edited by J.C.J. Nihoul and B.M.
Jamart,pp. 35-54, ElsevierOceanographicSeries,Elsevier, 1987.
208 Circulation and Transportin SarasotaBay

Sheng, Y.P. Evolution of a Three-DimensionalCurvilinear-Grid HydrodynamicModel for

Estuaries,Lakes, and CoastalWaters: CH3D, In Estuarine and CoastalModeling edited by
M.S. Spaulding,pp. 40-49, American Societyof Civil Engineers,1989.
Sherig,Y.P. and S.J. Peene, A Modeling and Field Study of Circulation and Transportin
SarasotaBay, a NationalEstuary,In Proceedingsof 1991 NEP ScienceSymposium., 1991.
Sherig,Y.P. and C. Villaret, Modeling the Effect of SuspendedSediment Stratificationon
Bottom ExchangeProcesses,"J. Geophys.Res.,94(C10), 14429-14444,1989.
Sherig,Y.P., J.-K. Choi and A.Y. Kuo, Three DimensionalNumerical Modeling of Tidal
Circulation and Salinity Transport in James River Estuary, in Estuarine and Coastal
Modeling editedby M.L. Spaulding,pp. 209-218, ASCE, 1989b.
Sherig,Y.P., H.-K. Lee and K.H. Wang, On Numerical Strategiesof Estuarineand Coastal
Modeling, Estuarine and CoastalModeling edited by M.L. Spaulding,pp. 291-301, ASCE,
Sherig, Y.P., X.-J. Chen, M. Fisher, and K.R. Reddy, Resuspensionof Fine Sedimentsand
Nutrients during an Episodic Event in a Shallow Estuary. Technical Report, Coastal &
Oceanographic EngineeringDepartment,University of Florida, Gainesville,Florida 32611,
Sheng,Y.P. and S.J. Peene, A Field and Modeling Study of Residual Circulation in Sarasota
Bay and Tampa Bay, Florida, in Estuarine and Coastal Modelling III edited by M.L.
Spaulding,et al., pp. d641-655,ASCE, 1993.
Sheng,Y.P., E. Yassuda,S. Schofieldand S.J. Peene,A Study on the Effect of ManateeRiver
Discharge on Circulation and Transport in SarasotaBay, Technical Report, Coastal &
OceanographicEngineeringDepartment,University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 32611,
Tomasko. Personal communication, 1992.
van de Kreeke,J. Stabilityof Tidal Inlets - PassCavallo,Texas,"Estuarine, Coastaland Shelf
Science, 21, 33-43, 1985.
van de Kreeke, J. Personal communication, 1993.
van de Kreeke,J. Stability Analysisof a Two-Inlet Bay System,' CoastalEngng, 14, 482-497,
van de Kreeke, J. Stability of Tidal Inlets; Escoffier'sAnalysis,Shoreand Beach, 9-12, 1992.
Zimmerman, J.T.F. Topographic Generation of Residual Circulation by Oscillatory (Tidal)
Currents,Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dynam., 11, 35-47, 1978.


A Brief Descriptionof CH3D

CH3D is a three-dimensional curvilinear-grid hydrodynamicsmodel developed by

Sherig(1987, 1989). Basic assumptionsof the model include: (1) the pressure
distribution is hydrostatic,(2) the Boussinesqapproximationis valid, and (3) the
eddy viscosity conceptis valid. With theseassumptions,equationsof motion for an
incompressiblefluid can be written in terms of the contravariantvelocity components
u and v, and the verticalvelocity,ta in a horizontallycurvilinear(• andxi) and
vertically stretched(o) grid systemo = (z- ()/(h + () where:
Shenget al. 2o9


1 3Hu

.... g[gll•
H 3t +g12 + fU+ fV

2 (y•
• %JHuv
- yq (xg
+• (xg

-g H g

-- 9do+o 1i•(__•)
+•• Av
+ Horizontal Diffusion (A-2)

1 i•-Iv
H 3t


+ Horizontal Diffusion (A-3)

210 Circulationand Transportin SarasotaBay

where the horizontaldiffusion terms are listed in Sheng(1986a). The temperature

(T) and salinity(S) equations
are similaras described
in the followingequationfor q>
which stands for either T or S:

H 3t H23g

HJ• (JHut•)
+• (JHv H 3g 3 •)]13Htoq> (A-4)

whereJ is theJacobian
of transformation,
gij is themetriccoefficient,
(Av,Dv) and
(AH, D H) are the verticaland horizontalturbulenteddycoefficients,H = h + • andh
is the mean depth measuredfrom mean sea level. For the flushing calculation,
Equation A-4 is also used to describe the dynamics of concentration of a
conservative species.

The vertical turbulent eddy coefficients Av and Dv in the above equationsare

computedfrom a simplified second-orderclosuremodel (Sheng, 1987; Shenget al.,
1989b; Sheng and Villaret, 1989). The horizontal turbulent eddy coefficientsare
assumedto be constantand computedby multiplying the smallest grid size and a
fraction of the maximum horizontal current.

Water level obtained at the offshore stations(one near Tampa Bay and two near
SarasotaBay) were interpolatedalong the open boundariesfor forcing of the model.
Freshwater flows from several tributaries were also included.

Internal Tidal Asymmetry in Channel

Flows' Origins and Consequences
D. A. Jay and J. D. Musiak


Non-linear, shallow-waterprocessestransfer energy from the surfacetide to higher

and lower frequenciesto create a barotropictidal spectrum. Production of higher
harmonics or overtides at multiples of the dominant tidal frequency is termed
"barotropictidal asymmetry"becauseit distortsthe free surfaceand causesflood- or
ebb-dominantcurrents,dependingon the relative phasesof the tide and its overtides.
Tidal distortionof the densityfield drivesan analogoustransferof energyto residual
and overtide internal modes; i.e., an "internal tidal asymmetry." The actual
mechanismresponsiblefor the internal non-linearity is an asymmetryin bed stress
that has two primary aspects:(1) differentialtidal advection(tidal straining)of a
strong horizontal density gradient brings about tidal variations in stratification and
thus in vertical turbulent mass and momentum exchange; and (2) baroclinic and
barotropic pressure gradients act in concert on flood but in opposition on ebb.
Observationsfrom the Columbia River estuary show that internal tidal asymmetry
can cause an entire spectrum of overtide currents. The most prominent of the
internalovertidesis M4 (the first overtideof M2), with maximum currentamplitudes
of 0.25-0.4ms-1 in anenvironmentwheretheamplitude
of thedominant(M2) current
constituentis O(1-1.4ms-l). Theseinternal
M4 currents
arethreeto 10 timeslarger
than the currentsassociatedwith the barotropicM4 tide (amplitude0.01 to 0.03m),
and they exhibit 180ø phasechangesin the vertical,anotherfactor that distinguishes
them from barotropictidal currents. Furthermore,the residualsurface-to-bedvelocity
differenceof -1 ms-1 is too large to be accounted
for by linear processes
(gravitational circulation and mean outflow), and model calculations show that
internal tidal asymmetry is also the predominantmechanismcausing vertical shear

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages211-249
Copyright1996by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion
212 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

in the residual flow. A literaturesurveyhas identified 20 estuariesin additionto the

Columbia that exhibit signs of internal tidal asymmetry,and it is likely a common
feature of narrow systems with strong tides and riverflow. Finally, observations
suggest that override and residual currents generated by internal tidal asymmetry
play a dominant role in maintaining the salt and sediment balances in narrow,
stratified estuaries.


Quadratic tidal non-linearities will in general drive both higher harmonics or

overtidesat multiples of the basic tidal frequency,and low-frequencyresidualflows.
Ianniello (1977) and othershave exploredthe implicationsof this fact for non-linear
residual circulation modes generatedby convective acceleration and a Stokes drift.
Recent investigationsof tidal barotropicovertide generationhave argued,however,
that bed stressnon-lineaririesare the dominantcauseof barotropicovertides(Parker,
1991; Godin, 1991; Friedrichsand Madsen,1992). The resultingbarotropicovertides
follow one of two patterns. In narrow systemswhere tidal changesin depth are the
primary generatingfactor, wave steepeningoccurs,leading to short sharpfloods and
long slow ebbs. This is an example of the classicalfinite-amplitude non-linearity
examinedby Stokes(1847). It may progressto sucha degreethat the transitionfrom
low water to high water is effectively instantaneous,and a bore is formed. In
estuarieswith broad flats on the other hand, tidal variability in width can causeshort
sharpebbs and long slow floods. The term "barotropictidal asymmetry"has arisento
describeboth of these forms of barotropicnon-linearity becauseof their distorting
effects on the free surface. Such barotropiceffects are important,becausethey alter
the times of high and low water and may causesubstantialsedimenttransport. The
latter may be either flood or ebb-dominant,depending on the sense of the non-
linearity (Speer et aI., 1990).
Most previous studiesof baroclinicforcing in estuarinetidal channelsfrom Hansen
and Rattray (1965) to McCarthy (1993) have, in contrast to those of barotropic
processes, focused on steady two-layer motions driven by a horizontal density
gradient. A dynamical picture of estuarine circulation in which barotropic non-
linearities are predominantly frictional, leading to both residual and overtide
generation, while internal circulation exists only in the residual frequency band and
is driven by a steady density gradientand/or convectiveaccelerationsis incomplete
and even contradictory. If there is an asymmetryin bed stress,it must interact with
the density and turbulencefields. This will excite barotropicand baroclinicmotions
at a variety of frequencies. The role of time-varying stratification in generating
residual flows was recognizedby Jay (1987, 1990), Jay and Smith (1990a), Uncles
and Stephens(1990) and West et aI. (1990). Quadraticnon-linearitiesmustproduce,
however, both overtide and residualflows as has long been recognizedin barotropic
analyses. Despite the work of Trowbridge and Madsen (1984) on generation of
higher harmonic motion driven by time-varying, vertical turbulent stressdivergence
in neutrally stratified, wave boundary layers, the analogy between baroclinic
Jay & Musiak 213

barotropicnon-linearitieswas not exploiteduntil Jay (1991a) suggestedthat "internal

tidal asymmetry"ought to generateovertidesas well as residualflow.
The primary purposeof this paper is to presentobservationsand model resultsfor the
Columbia River estuarythat show internal asymmetryto be the largestsourceof both
overtide and baroclinicresidualcurrentsin a stronglyforced tidal channel. Just as in
the case of barotropic non-linearities, the dominant forcing mechanisms are
associatedwith the vertical stressdivergencerather than non-linear convection. The
logic of the argument that follows is straightforward. Aside from topographic
scattering(Baines, 1982) of incomingbarotropicovertidewaves, there are no known
linear mechanisms to drive internal overtide circulations. While other internal
processessuch as secondary,cross-channelcirculation causedby channel curvature
may also bring about internal overtide and residual flows, only internal tidal
asymmetry can produce the observed pattern of elevated currents. Linear
topographicscatteringis not relevant to the presentcasefor two reasons. First, there
is not enoughenergy (by a factor of aboutthree to 10) in barotropicovertidemodes
near the estuarymouth to produce the observedinternal overtide circulation; energy
must be transferred by non-linear processesfrom the primary tidal circulation.
Second, topographicscatteringpreferentially producesshort gravity-wave internal
tides with characteristicsaligned with the bottom slope in the generation region.
Only long internal tides can exist (other than as local perturbations) in typical
wherethe ratioof depthto lengthis typicallyO(10-4). This
ratio is one to two orders of magnitude less than is typical for continental shelf
environments,where short internal tides often play an important role. Interpretation
of observationsof internal residual circulation is complicatedby the existenceof a
variety of linear processesthat may contributeto residual shear, including riverflow,
atmosphericforcing and gravitational circulation. Simple models of the pertinent
residual flow processes are therefore used to demonstrate that internal tidal
asymmetryis the dominantresidualflow processas well. Finally, a few observations
are presentedto show the importanceof internal asymmetry in suspendedsediment
transport in shallow, stratified estuaries. Thus, the presence of large internal
overtidesdemonstratesthe existenceof potent internal non-linearities.

Dynamicsof InternalTidal Asymmetry

Causesand Consequences
of TidallyVaryingStratification

Internal tidal asymmetry is causedby the presenceof a strong horizontal density

gradientthat does not changesign tidally, though its strengthis tidally modulatedby
compressionand dilation of the density field. This density gradient comes into play
in two distinct ways (Jay, 1990). First, the baroclinic and barotropic pressure
gradientsact togethernear the bed on flood, while they are in oppositionon ebb.
Second, tidal straining of the horizontal density gradient causestidal variations in
stratification. On flood, any near-surfacevelocity maximum causes advection
214 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

denserwater over lighter water, minimizing stratification.On ebb, shearin the water
column advectslighter water over denserwater, increasingstratification.
These two aspects of internal tidal circulation interact through vertical turbulent
momentum exchange. This can be understoodby considering the flow associated
with a single barotropictidal constituentin a hypothetical,weakly stratifiedchannel
of constant width and depth, assuming also the existence of a horizontal density
gradient caused by a riverflow imposed from the landward end. Because of
differential advection(tidal straining)of the densityfield and the baroclinicpressure
gradient, flood flows in such a systemwould be nearly uniform in the vertical or
concentratednear the bed. In the lower part of the flow at least, vertical turbulent
momentum exchangewould approacha value typical for a neutrally stratified tidal
flow and causea maximum in bed stressduring flood in a positive estuary. Increased
stratification on ebb would inhibit vertical momentum exchange. Shears would
become large with ebb outflow concentratednear the free surface, resulting in a
considerable reduction of bed stress.

One must then ask how internal tidal asymmetrywould manifest itself in a harmonic
analysis in the above hypotheticalestuary. As a consequenceof the flood-to-ebb
changein vertical distributionof the horizontal tidal flow, the Eulerian current does
not reverseexactly at each depth (Figure 1). A simple Fourier decompositionshows
that internal asymmetry causes quadratic non-linearities in vertical momentum
exchange to appear as internal overtide and residual modes (Jay, 1991a). Z0
(mean), M4 and M8 currentswill emerge in the current record in the proportion of
about 0.63õ, 0.42õ and 0.08õ, respectively,with õ as definedin Figure 1. These
modes are internal in that they do not generate a surface tide or any net override
transport;thus they must show a 180ø phasereversalin the vertical. The overtide
and residualflow near the bed in Figure 1 act to strengthenthe flood near the seabed
and the ebb near the free surface. By analogy to the barotropiccase,we may refer to
this type of the internalasymmetryas "flood-oriented".

-A •t Uf

- ebb U flood +

Figure1. Definitionsketchfor internaltidalasymmetry.

U f andUe represent,
flood and ebb observedtidal velocity profiles exclusiveof mean flow effects. A representsthe
reversingpart of the tidal flow; i.e., that portion associatedwith the dominant M2 tidal
constituentin a harmonicanalysis. $ represents the non-reversing part of the tidal flow
associatedwith internaltidal asymmetry;it integratesto zero by
Jay & Musiak 215

The above, idealized distribution of flow energy amongst the various constituents
pertains only if: 1) there is only one major tidal species; 2) the flow is two-
dimensionalin the along-channel(x) and vertical (z) directions;3) both flood and
ebb velocity profiles increase monotonically from the bed; 4) maximum and
minimum stratificationare exactly 180ø degreesout of phase;and 5) the dependence
of vertical eddy diffusivity Km on gradient Richardson number (and thus on
stratification) is linear everywhere. In fact, multiple tidal constituents, three-
dimensionaleffects, subsurfacevelocity maxima on flood, complex time variations
in stratification, and other non-linearities are present. These features generate an
entire spectrumof internal overtideswith complexcross-sectional distributionsin the
data presentedbelow.

of Internal TidalAsymmetry

Linear density forcing and barotropic and internal tidal asymmetry should leave
distinctive signaturesin the residual flow band of current records. It is difficult
however, to collect sufficiently long current recordsin enough locationsto actually
distinguishthese contributionsto the residual flow. Thus analysisof the overtide
band, to which steady, linear density forcing does not contribute,has proven to be
the simplest way to identify internal asymmetry. Still, internal tidal asynunetry is
not the only sourceof overtide currentsor even the only internal overtide mode. Two
other processesneed also to be consideredin shallow tidal channels:barotropicover-
tides and cross-channel,secondarycirculation due to channel curvature. Barotropic
overtides should, like internal tidal asymmetry, be predominantly along-channel
oriented,but do not have the 180ø phaseshift in the vertical that is characteristicof
an internal mode. Secondary circulation due to channel curvature is an internal
mode that also appearsat mean and overtide frequencies--near-surfaceflow moves
to the outsideof a channel bend on both flood and ebb. This processdiffers from
internal asynunetrybecauseit is primarily directed cross-channel,not along-channel.
Observed overtide currents at most locations show a combination of these three

Harmonic analyses of current and surface elevation data can be used together to
differentiate these three overtide modes. Specific factors that distinguishinternally
generatedovenidesfrom thoseproducedby other mechanismsare: 1) along-channel
currentsthat are strongerthan can be justified by the barotropicsurfacetide; 2) a
180 ø phase reversal in the vertical; and 3) a decreasein current amplitude at the
upstreamlimits of salinityintrusion. Moored currentmeterrecordsare usefulfor the
statisticalaccuracythat is available from a relatively long record and for the number
of overtide constituents that may be distinguished. Comparison of overtide
amplitudesin currentmeter data to thosefound in tidal height recordsdistinguishes
internal and barotropicmodes. The method is basedon mass conservationand the
assumptionthat the flow is essentiallytwo-dimensional in the along-channel(x) and
vertical (z) directions,so that tidal transportand tidal elevation are related by the
ratio of frequencyto complex wavenumber. The simplestprocedureis to calculate
216 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

normalized override current amplitude at individual current meters; that is to divide

the ratio of M 4 currentto M4 height amplitudeby the ratio of M2 currentto M2 height
amplitude. This normalized override current amplitude should be O(1-2) in the
absence of non-linearities driven by internal processes and channel curvature,
becauseimpedance(the ratio of wave transportto elevation)varies only weakly with
frequency in the presenceof even small along-channelchangesin cross-sectional
area (Jay, 1991b). It is unusual,however, for more than three currentmeter records
to be available for a singlemooring,and the greaterspatialresolutionof ADCP data
is required to define the cross-sectionaldistributionof internal overtide currents. This
hasbeen determinedfrom 25 to 50 hr ship-mounted ADCP time series.

of InternalTidal Asymmetry
All three requisitetypesof data listed in the previoussection- mooredcurrentmeter
records at multiple depths,rime-seriesof ADCP observations,and surface elevation
records- appear at the moment to be available only in the Columbia River estuary
(Figure 2). Let us, thereforebriefly sketchthe oceanographic contextof this system
basedon previous studies(Jay and Smith, 1990 a,b,c). Like other west-coastUnited
States estuaries, the Columbia has a mixed tide with M 2 being the largest
constituent;its amplitudeis about0.9 to 1 m in the estuary. Strongtidal currentsand
a riverflowof about3,000to 15,000m3 s-1 causetheestuary
to be primarilysand
bedded. There are two narrow channelsthroughbroad sandflats in the lower estuary.
Internal overridesrequire the presenceof a stronghorizontalsalinity gradient,and
tidal-maximumsalinityintrusionin the Columbiavarieswith riverflow and the neap-
spring cycle from about km-20 to kin-40 (Jay and Smith, 1990c). The resulting
salinitygradientof 33 psuover 20 to 40 km is perhapstypical for a river-estuary,but
is considerablystrongerthan that found in many drowned coastal plane systems.


Cu•ent MeterMoorings
North Channel Transects


Figure 2. Location sketchfor the Columbia River estuary showing the locations of current
meter and ADCP stationsusedin subsequent
Jay & Musiak 217

0.2.'- -- •,60

(• AmDl•tud•

- 180

-N':I= +

i I i I 0
0 ZO 40 60 80 1(Do • 20 140

Figure 3. Characteristics of the barotropicM 4 surfacetide in the Columbia River and estuary,
basedon surface elevation recordsranging from 3 to 12 months in length (adapted from Jay,
1991a). Normalized surfaceelevation amplitude(M4/M2) and phase difference (2M2- M4)
are plotted againstriver kin.

Prominent neap-springtransitionsfrom highly stratified to weakly stratified or even

partially mixed are another feature that the Columbia shares with other estuaries
showing evidence of internal tidal asymmetry. Internal asymmetry never entirely
disappearseven under weakly stratified conditions, but the flows excited thereby
appearto be much larger under highly stratified conditions. The variability over the
tidal month of the density field and in the flows driven by its advection further
complicatesthe spectrumof currentsdriven by internal asymmetry.
The Columbia is also a good system in which to examine internal asymmetry,
becausebarotropic overtides are quite small except landward of salinity intrusion,
and internal processesare the dominantcause (we can say in retrospect)of both
residual and overtide currents. The M4/M2 ratio in surface elevation records is
between0.01 and 0.05 seawardof kin-40 (Figure 3). Justlandwardof this reach, the
M4/M2 ratio grows rapidly. Narrow tidal channelsusually exhibit finite amplitude
wave steepening,but the 2M2-M 4 phase difference in the Columbia is about 270ø
below kin-35, indicating neither flood nor ebb dominance. Upstream of this point,
the phasedifferenceis 70-90ø or weakly ebb dominant,and almost 180ø out of phase
with the overtide flow further seaward. The masonsfor this pattern have not been
clarified, but strong riverflow and a weakly convergentgeometry evidently modify
the wave-steepeningprocessusually seenin such
218 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

Evidenceof InternalAsymmetry
from MooredInstrumentData

Normalized M4 currentamplitudes(the ratio of M4 currentto M4 height divided by

the ratio of M2 current to M2 height; Figure 4) presenta very different pattern from
that of the barotropicheights (Figure 3). In the tidal river above salinity intrusion
normalized amplitude is between0.75 and 2.5. Deviations from unity in this reach
may reflect the influence of channel curvatureor may be associatedwith frequency
dependenceof the impedance. In contrast,the normalized current amplitudeswithin
the estuaryproper are, with one exception,between3 and 12. Further evidencefor
the existence of overtides driven by internal tidal asymmetry can be seen in 11
currentmeter recordseach of 15 to 30 days durationcollectedby the National Ocean
Survey in August-September 1981 on a sectionat aboutkm-8 (stations1, 3, 4 and 8
in Figure 2). While M2 amplitude shows only a single maximum focussedin the
north channel, M4 amplitude shows maxima in both north and south channels.
Anomalously large normalized current amplitudes at some locations in the cross-
section and 180ø phase changes characteristic of internal tidal asymmetry are
evident in harmonicanalysesof along-channelvelocity (Table 1). But it is unclear,
becauseof the gap between7.3 and 18.9 m in the deepestpart of the channelat CM-
3, how to contourthesephasedata and whethera 180ø phasereversaloccursin the
vertical at any location. As with the ADCP data discussedbelow, cross-channel
overtide velocities (not listed) are substantial and indicate the influence of channel

TABLE 1. Moored Current Meter Harmonic Constantsfor Clatsop Spit Section,August-

Station Meter Distance M2 M2 M4 M4 Normal- Relative
and depth from northamplitude phase amplitude phase ized phase
water m side ms-1 Og ms-1 Og amplitude
2 2M2-M4
depth,m m o•
CM- 35 210 1.29 192 0.110 77 4.84 307

4/14.9 85 0.97 185 0.075 97 4.49 274

13.7 0.57 169 0.091 103 9.27 237

CM- 5.0 630 1.86 186 0.038 210 1.19 163

1/14.0 8.0 1.39 192 0.050 264 2.10 120
13.1 0.78 178 0.016 188 1.22 169

CM- 43 1650 1.40 194 0.082 129 3.32 260

3/22.0 73 1.36 190 0.039 134 1.67 246
18.9 0.67 177 0.012 87 1.03 266

CM- 5.8 2360 0.75 179 0.086 255 6.56 104

8/11.0 9.8 0.35 168 0.050 232 8.17 104

1 Thenormal
of the National Ocean Survey.
2 Normalized
in thetext,theratioof M4 current
to height
over the ratio of M2 currentto
Jay & Musiak 219

Comparison of normalized amplitudes for a variety of overtide frequencies at two

stations within the estuary showing substantialinternal overtide effects (CM-4 and
CM-8 at river kin-8, Figure 2 and Table 2a) with typical data from upriver of salinity
intrusion(CM-T11 at river km-62 and CM-39 at river km-87, Figure 2 and Table 2b)
is useful in understanding differences between estuarine, internally generated
overtidesand rivefine, barotropicovertides. First, constituentsat CM-4 and CM-8 in
the terdiurnal (e.g., M3), quarterdiurnal (e.g., M4), seventh-diurnal and possibly
eighth-diurnal bands show enlarged normalized amplitudes, while amplitudes for
these constituentsare all, except for S4 and M8 at two locations,O(1) at CM-T11
and CM-39. Fifth- and sixth-diurnalconstituentsshow more amplification upriver
than in the estuary for reasonsthat are obscure. Their enlargementdoes not appear
to be associatedwith an increasein impedancewith frequency, because3MK7 and
M8 do not show a similar increase. Moreover, all peaks that show enlargementat
CM-T11 are quite small (0.001-0.01 m) in the tidal height analysis,and all change
amplitudessubstantiallyif a different nearby tide gauge is used in the normalization.
2SM6, for example, does not show the same enlargement of normalized current
amplitude at CM-39, where its height amplitude is larger, as at CM-Tll. This
suggeststhat statistical significancemay have been lost for some small constituents
in the currentsor heights analyses. Another striking difference is that normalized
amplitudes from CM-39 and CM-Tll show very little vertical variation in the
terdiumal and quarterdiurnal bands, while such variations are substantialat CM-4
and CM-8. Finally, there is an important difference between the current meter
harmonic analysis results in Tables 1 and 2 and those that follow for ADCP data.
Internally generated currents are sensitive functions of the density field, which
changessubstantiallyover the tidal month (Jay and Smith, 1990c). Thus 15 to 30
day harmonic analysesof current data will inevitably average out much of the detail
that is presentin the ADCP results.

• 8 •= SALT


00 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 8'0 90
River Kilomeier

Figure4. Ratio of normalized M 4 to M 2 current amplitudevs. fiver kilometer. Tidal height

amplitudesare used to normalize both M 4 and M 2 currents. Normalized ratios substantially
greater than one are confined to that portion of the systemwhere salinity intrusion is found,
which stronglysuggeststhat internal tidal asymmetryis responsiblefor the phenomenon.
220 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

TABLE 2a. The overridespectrumat selectedstations-- Normalizedalong-channel

1in theestuary

Station2/riverkm CM-4/8 CM-4/8 CM-4/8 CM-8/8 CM-8/8

meter depth, 3.5/14.9 8.5/4.9 13.7/14.9 5.8/11.0 9.8/11.0

m/depth, m


MO 3 - 3.57 - - 0.63
M3 1.95 7.46 3.613 1.053 7.41
MK3 - 2.31 - - 3.51
SK3 1.83 2.28 5.18 - 2.05

MN 4 - 0.91 - - 4.27
M4 4.84 4.49 9.27 6.56 8.17
SN4 - 8.93 - - -
MS4 3.58 2.08 7.18 - 4.13
S4 0.11 6.06 13.0 - 1.42

2MK5 0.59 1.14 1.69 0.71 1.21

2SK5 0.50 2.69 5.61 3.86 2.67

2MN 6 - 2.31 - - 2.49

M6 1.87 1.43 1.56 2.56 2.61
2MS 6 2.41 2.00 0.33 - 1.69
2SM6 1.96 1.21 12.5 - 2.88

3MK7 5.86 2.06 1.75 6.06 6.39

M8 2.35 3.48 5.87 3.97 2.41

1 Normalized
is theratioof M4 current
to M4
height amplitudeover the ratio of M 2 currentamplitudeto M 2 height amplitude.

2 Rawcurrent
of National
3 TheM3 currenthasbeencompared
to theMK3 height,the largestterdiurnal
constituent.If M 3 heightsare usedthen valuesbetween5 and 18 result.

In summary,analysesof moored instrumentdata show 180ø overtide phasereversals

with depth, and amplification of M4 and possiblyM8 normalized current amplitudes,
as predicted by the simple theory summarized in Figure 1. This confirms the
importanceof internally generatedovertides. The fact that a variety of other overtide
constituents are also amplified indicates a need for a more detailed theoretical
analysis. In contrast, normalized current amplitudes are O(1) for most overtide
constituentsupriver of salinity intrusion,becauseinternal overridesare absentin this
part of the
Jay & Musiak 221

TABLE 2b. The override spectrumat selectedstations- Normalized along-channel

1 upstream
of salinity

Station2/riverkm CM-Tll/62 CM-Tll/62 CM-39/87 CM-39/87 CM-39/87

meter depth, 1.5/15 8.2/15 4.6/18 7.6/18 15.8/18

m/depth, m


MO 3 1.13 1.19 ......

M3 0.80 1.77 1.o8
3 1.173 2.043
MK 3 0.62 0.73 ......
SK3 0.84 1.80 0.64 1.14 1.80

MN 4 0.67 0.53 ......

M4 0.91 0.91 1.73 1.78 1.86
SN4 0.88 1.35 ......
MS4 1.23 1.07 1.56 1.60 1.53
S4 3.81 3.33 0.60 1.62 1.05

2MK5 1.04 1.18 2.03 1.96 2.06

2SK5 6.25 5.00 2.57 4.57 6.00

2MN 6 1.75 2.06 - - -

M6 3.46 2.23 1.04 1.26 1.77
2MS6 5.33 3.55 1.86 2.67 3.33
2SM 6 8.33 10.8 1.84 2.89 1.84

3MK7 0.68 0.54 3.64 1.89 0.95

M8 2.91 1.45 2.60 2.22 4.07

1 Normalized
is theratioof M4 current
to M4
height amplitudeover the ratio of M2 currentamplitudeto M 2 height amplitude.

2 Rawcurrent
Engineers,Portland District (CM-T11).

3 TheM3 current
totheMK3 height,
If M3
heightsare usedthen values between7 and 15 result.

Evidenceof lnternalAsymmetry
from ADCP Data
Details of the cross-sectionaldistributionof internally generatedcurrentscan best be
understoodusing vertical and cross-sectionaldistributionsderived from ADCP and
CTDO [conductivity-temperature-depth-optical backscatter (OBS) profiler]
observations.These data were collectedduring three ADCP/CTDO surveysof five
222 Internal Tidal Asymmetry


•"••...•.•• ••• • Sproul
Position \ '• R/V
An •
• \ • c•'ost•.o.•

T0Ocean O kE


347 350

Easting Oregon Zone North [km]

Figure 5. Schematicof vesseltrack of the R/V Snow Goose and CTDO stationlocationsfor
data collection on sections NC1 and NC2. Section NC1 consists of stations AA, A, B and C,
NC2 of stationsD and E. Biological, sedimentologicaland geochemicalstudieswere carried
out on an anchoredvessel, the R/V Sproul.

seven weeks duration that were conductedin fall 1990, summer 1991 and spring
1992. The normal patternof shipboardoperationswas to obtain 25-50hr time-series
of ADCP data along a U-shapedcourseencompassing two sections(e.g. Figure 5).
The two sections would include four to seven CTDO stations. Successive time series
were separatedby six to12 hr anchorstationsat one of the CTDO stations. Thus
while only 25-30 hrs of continuousdata are available for an entire cross-section,
individualstationsmay have time seriesof ADCP and CTDO data up to 100 hrs long.
At other times, multiple passesback and forth along longitudinalsectionswere made
over 25-30 periods. Most sectionswere occupiedon both springand neapfides.
ADCP data were collectedwith a RD Instruments1.2 mHz narrow-bandprofiler using
1 m bins; the instrumentwas set to optimize accuracyin a high-shearenvironment.
Ship velocity was removedby bottomtracking. Vesselorientationwas providedby a
digital outputfrom the vessel'sgyrocompass.Ship positionwas determinedfrom the
vessel'sLoran C receiver 1990 (and occasionallyas a backupin 1991 and 1992) or
GPS (most 1991 and 1992 data). Two North Channel sections at about kin-17.5
(Figure 2) were frequently occupied, becausethey were near the middle of the
estuarineturbidity maximum (ETM) that was the primary object of our studies. Each
of the two sectionswas divided into 5 boxes of width -250 m for analysisof ADCP
data. ADCP data were collected on both traverses across the two sections during
every circuit aroundthe course,yielding at least two but more typically four to 10
ping ensemblesevery 45-75 minutesfor every box. Each ping ensembleconsistedof
groupsof 10 acoustic"pings"averagedin the ADCP'sinternalfirmware. (A "ping"is
an acousticsignalsent out by the ADCP, reflectedby particlesmoving with the
Jay & Musiak 223

and then analyzedby the ADCP for Doppler shift and thus water velocity relative to
the instrument.)Ping groupswere averagedover 20 secondsin the ADCP processing
softwareto form ping ensemblesrepresenting60-70 individual acousticpings. Ping
ensembleswere used without further averagingfor harmonic analysis and plots;
ADCP errors are discussed below. There were four CTDO stations on section NC1
and two on section NC2 (Figure 5). CTDO data were collected (using an Ocean
Sensorsmodel 100 CTD) every 45-75 min on one traverse acrosseach section, so
that the othertraversewas madewithoutany changeof courseor speed.

Time series of along-channelvelocity U, salinity and gradient Richardson number

fromADCPandCTDOdataon30-31July1991at NC-B,thedeepest
stationon sectionNC1, are shownin Figure 6. Following the ideasof Geyer (1988),
it is deskable to include the effect of both tidal/mean flow shear (measuredby the
ADCP) and internal wave shear (not resolvedby the ADCP) in a total Richardson
by Rigt. Thisis accomplished
by assuming
of kinetic
in a saturated
wavefield. Thus,Rigt = N2/(S2+N2),
whereN2= -g/Po/}p/i•z,
andS2 is thesquare
of thesheardetermined
and across-channel
ADCP velocity. The verticaldifferencinginvolvedin calculating
Rigt is a severe
testof dataquality,andsomesmoothing
is required
of bothdatasets.
The CTDO data (originally spacedat about0.1 m) were filtered and decimatedto 1
m to matchthe ADCP sampling;densityinversionswere filled. The 20s ADCP ping
ensembleswere further averaged to 1 min, and a few anomalous pings were
eliminated. Because of the central differences used to calculate derivatives and the
partial overlap of data between ADCP bins, the inherentresolutionof the calculated
Rigt is about3 m.
Tides during this period were nearly equatorial (i.e., having a small diurnal
inequality)but relatively weak; the lesserand greaterdiurnalrangeswere 1.9 and 2.2
m, respectively.Riverflowwasabout5,200 m3s-1 or about60% aboveseasonal
minimum and 80-85% of the annualaverage. The vertical averageof the fiverflow
velocityin this part of the estuarywas about0.14 ms-1, with Stokesdrift
compensationflow addingan estimated0.05-0.06ms-1. A salt-wedge
like salinity
intrusion with a prominent, mid-depth velocity maximum occurred on each flood
(Figure 6). The strongestebb velocitiesoccurrednear the free surface. Becauseof
the relatively weak fides, substantialnet upstreambottom flows were observed,as in
Jay and Smith (1990c). Near-bed salinitiesdecreasedon ebb as much by vertical
mixing as by advection,becausevery little outflow occurredat the bed. Thus on the
weaker ebb, some salinity remained in the bottom few meters even at the onset of
the following flood. Both near the free surfaceand at 10-15 m, flood-ebb differences
in velocity
a/5of O(1ms-l).Maximum
of Rig
t werefound
bed at the end of ebb and at the top of the pycnoclineat the end of flood. Strong
tidal variationin Rigt occurredat mostlevelsof theflow exceptat thebedandnear
thefreesurface whereRigt = 0 throughoutthetidalcycle.
Flood and ebb "snapshots"of NC1 cross-sectionaldistributionsof U, IJt and acoustic
echo intensity indicate important features associated with internal asymmetry
(Figures 7 and 8). The strongestsalinity intrusion is in the deepestpart of
224 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

, 1.5

- :.•-o.5 E

-1.0 •


10 12 14 16 18 20 22 O0 02 04 06 08 10 12
, ! , I , I & [ i I , I • I • I • I • I , I , I , I , I •
J 32
16 r•

10 12 14 16 18 20 22 O0 02 04 06 08 10 12

o :;•:•.,,.,...
' .'•;': O.8
,---, .•:..•-'.•-%""
' ;•;•:.- •:.,•i:'""'
' ' "!•: .:'•..'-";.".'-;•,?:'"':"'.'::::!i.
l:: ...:.........
' "-'-'•,'./...'•t:•.,.
::':•?:-"¾• ':.'-:i......-'•
.'! 0.7
'---' ?::.t•....:,•,'•.•..•..
. •:.....:•:.•,:•i•.....•.::•:
.............. ' '•"'"'",-'".--'"•./•;,,
...... '....:•;..'
ii'" ..... •":.:.-ii•,,
,•' 'i:.-'
.c: tt ;',
•- 10?-.t•;;•:)•(•;.-,,..•
•., ,..:-.,.. '" .:'•½•3:'-'<:.!b"
"""•:':'•'"'J4 :'"':"
.,--,W•--"•...'• •
.:,:::,•. . t :;.-::'•
,..•.--•:': ....;½.-.':i•:'-:.-•.,...,.
:::' ?:"•'"'""•"':•----:•._
;:!• •
0.5 ••
• •.•F:.-:::.
.;., .::
.... -...:.•..-::,::•.•::.....•.-...::.::..:.:•....-
, .;•(..-.:r&,..•,.....•j•:.;,
.... '"':
n •""•'••••..;•..,.-.,:•.•i•':;:i•..i;'
'•• •!! ..... -;.--:..'.'•?,.-
•"' :•;i•""::"'":'•"':'"":'•
-' :'"'"/•-• 0.2
...... ' 0.1
10 12 14 16 18 20 22 00 02 04 06 08 10 12
Hours [PST]
Figur•6. Times$•ri• of a]o•g-½h•l ¾•1o½ity
(top),salinity(•iddl•) •d Rig (bottom)
stationB in the deepestpart of sectionNCI. Geyer (1988) found that the critical value of the
totalRig asdefinedherewasO(ø)in theFraserRiverestuaryandthatpycnocline thickness
adjusted to givenear-critical
valuesof Rig. Theouterpartof the flow wasoftennearly
inviscidon flood. Resultshere are roughlysimilar,exceptthat the critical value appearsto be
0(0.4- 0.6) or so. This is not surprising,
becausethe ADCP doesnot fully resolvethe shear.

channel. The maximumvalue of U on flood is near the baseof the interfaceatop the
intruding salt water mass. Figure 6 and bedstresscalculationsnot presentedhere
showthat vigorousmixing occursnear the bed on flood. This is not evidentin Figure
8, probablybecausethereis little stratificationat this depth. Maximum outwardflow
is at thesurfaceon thenorthsideof thechannelon ebb. Mixing is øccurring
Jay & Musiak 225



• 2o

1.5 / • '



øI • 2.0


• 20.0
400 600 800 1000

Distance From Bank [m]

Figure 7. Sectionslooking upriver from the sectionNC1 sectionof U and (I t for peak flood
(above) and peak ebb (below). There is a prominent subsurface,flood velocity maximum in
the deepestpart of the channelthat correspondswell with the intruding salt wedge. Peak ebb
velocities appear at the surface on the north side of the channel. The magnitude of the
velocity increasesmonotonically from the bed on ebb and is nearly linear with depth over
much of the water column in the left two-thirds of the channel. There is a close
correspondencebetween the velocity and density fields in the deeper part of the channel on
both flood and ebb.

upper half of the water column on ebb, as suggestedby internal waves and braided
structuresin Figure 8, and by the disturbeddensityinterfaceat stationB in Figure 7.
Figure 6 suggeststhat bedstressshould be weak on ebb at NCB, because salt is
never totally washed out of the deepest part of the cross-section. The sediment
transportseenin Figure 8 shows,however,that areasof strongbedstressoccuron ebb
in shallowerparts of the channel,where the salinity goesnearly to
226 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

0m ...... -..... .. I1miniSurface


. •

.: :'•..........
•::-,:..... ,.....
::.--:• :-....
.......;--•! ,.:
•.,.,.;...:• ,•.-.,•:, -......
. • .... :•.-....•.... Transducer'
....... .,,,..

•'"-;•'• 'u'•.:'";"•:";
' ' "'
,.,•,.•,•..•-½r•?:•'.•.¾•7.•;'.,•.,•,• 4 ',-.
F,• •
?'•:•'" .....
' ' '"'• " ":':'"
•.'•''; •].-.. •:?'-:•.....•,--'•ff'-'.?<:'.i'---
:':'::2 -:•.•ø;::,•.:•'•'
,.. •...•.-ß
,'.....• L•-:-;"--:".

:•-' ; .r :--.,.,•.:,,x-..•,.*-' -:.'•. ,t,•,•-,

.- , - &..- .;,'. •....:.........:'.-;-;-;-:.
•- •-,.- -
. . '


'-.... ,. .. ' -• - •.-.'.•.

•,.;,,,..•.. :....•....•
.., :..._.,i. .

ß . .. ,.,.,.:...,-'.•:.,•.,.._,
..'" .:e..--•1•,!•-.•

. • , •..•
:":'-<•' •=•'•""•:-'• •:?-:.-,
AA A B .... C
I1 mini
0m ....:---.................. ': ,.;............................... ".•........_"-T-7.:'-'?::-:•':•"::.•:,•

-"",•C'•;,-""'•,-:•.•"•--'• •:•. "'•,'.?:' '...'-.;;;:.'.:',_..-,'..¾

;..,; ,.-•.:•'•:..'.::

",.... '.' . -•' '" .:--•....., .,,,':;-'.':•.....-:,
...... .-,•:-•:'•'•'"'•,•'"'";".'"•:'?'"
'-'• "•'• t"'
.,,. •-..........:

•-•-•-", r •---................
•.. ,•.••••_,.,•.....:•;•--,•

' -.'-'";•:,"•',•"•:-';."-'--:':::::
"-'-"..C-:• I:Jeo

Figure 8. Flood (above) and ebb (below) acousticecho sounder(200 khz) sections looking
upriver at section NC1 that correspondto the density sectionsin Figure 7. The four vertical
lines (time marks) correspondto CTDO casts. The line below the bottom is a secondary
reflection. Time and position are not linearly related becauseof the CTDO casts. In the early
flood section taken at 1330 PST on 31 July 1992, the strongestdensity interface is at mid-
depth and rises to fight (south). Only weak internal wave action and little mixing are seen on
this interface, but larger amplitudewaves and somemixing are seen between about 4 and 8 m
depth in the middle-left part of the channel. Suspendedsedimentin transportis seen below
12 m acrossthe left two-thirds of the channel and along the fight bank. Active mixing and
internal waves of several meters amplitude are seen throughoutthe upper part of the flow on
ebb. Suspendedsedimenttransport and/or erosion obscuresthe bed in the left half of the
channel. On both flood and ebb, there is a close correspondencebetween the distribution of
reflectorsand the densitydistributionsin Figure
Jay & Musiak 227

Harmonic analyseshave been carried out on along-channel(Figure 9 and 10) and

across-channelvelocity components(not shown) using the scalar decomposition
routinesfor unevenly spaced(in time) data describedin Foreman and Henry (1979).
ThemeanZ0 amplitude
9a,b) shows
strongoutflow(>0.6ms-1on bothNC1
and NC2) at the surface with a maximum along the north bank, similar to ebb-
velocity field in Figure 7. The mean shear is distributed throughout the water
column, not concentrated in a well-defined layer. There is a maximum inflow of
>0.3 ms-1 in thedeeper
partsof bothsectionsat about15-16m depth,yieldinga top-
to-bottommeanvelocitydifferenceof 0.9 to 1 ms-1. M2 amplitudeincreases
monotonically toward the free surface on sectionNC1 but shows a weak subsurface
maximum on sectionNC2 (Figure 9a,b). Maximum M2 amplitudesare about >1.2
ms-1on NC1 and>1.4 ms-1 on NC2. A bottom-to-surface
M2 phaseprogression
about 0.7-1 hr occurs on both sections.

•' o

0-'-" + • 0• t

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100



ß•' 0


300 400 500 600 700 800 900 10'00 11'00

M2 PHASE [degrees]



3OO 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100


Figure 9. Along-channelvelocityharmonicconstantsfor Z 0 (top), M 2 amplitude (middle) and

phase(bottom) on sectionNC1 in (a) and on sectionNC2 in (b). These were calculated from
ADCP observations(see text); the sectionsare plotted looking
228 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

(b) ZO AMPLITUDE [ms-l]

' -0.6 ' J

•-• -o
• ,
.• 0

• 10
1 -- •• +0

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000



•' ø•---•-----•.4 %


300 400 500 600 700 800 900 10'00

M2 PHASE [degrees]

•- 0 • •00,' •

• 10 300

• 20

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 10'00


Figure 9 (ConQnued).•ong-channel velocity ha•onic constantsfor Z 0 (top), M 2 amplitude

(•ddle) and phase (bottom) on sectionNCl in (a) and on sectionNC2 in (b). •ese were
calculatedfrom ADCP observations(see •xt); the sections•e ploRed looMng landw•d.

This feature is typical of tidal channelflows and is causedby the length of time
required for an adversebarotropicpressuregradient to deceleratethe strongnear-
surfaceflow at the changeof fide. A similar vertical M2 phaselag is seenin current
meter harmonicanalysisresultsfrom the ClatsopSpit section(stations1, 3, 4 and 8
in Figure 2; Jay and Smith, 1990c).
Cross-sectionaldistributions of along-channelM4 amplitude and phase (Figure
10a,b) are significantlymore complex than those for Zo and M2. The largestM4
on section
NC1 is 0.25ms-1. It occurs
at thesurface,
anda secondary
maximumof >0.1 ms-1 is found6 m abovethebedin midchannel.M4 amplitudes
onNC2,reaching0.4 ms-1nearthe surfaceand0.2 ms-1 in
nearthebed. MinimumM4 amplitudes
of <0.05ms-1 arefoundat 5-11
m in both sections. The northern third and southern half of section NC1 show rather
different M4 phasedistributionswith a sharptransitionbetween. The southernhalf
Jay& Musiak 229

thechannelshowsa verysharp180ø phasechangein theverticalat about8-9 m that

thetwo maxima.Thereis a further100ø phasechangebetween12 m and
at 17-20m. Thenorthern
thirdof thechannel
at NC1 shows
a single,
more diffuse-180 ø phasechangein the verticalat about12 m; thusthereare also
stronglateral phasechanges.

•' ø•l.._0_20

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100
M4 PHASE[degrees]

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100




300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000


M4 PHASE[degrees]

"• 0


•. 20

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000


Figure10. Along-channel
for M4' amplitude
(bottom)for sections
NC1 [in (a)] andfor sectionNC2 [in (b)], as calculated
from ADCP
observations.Thesenseof the2 M2 - M4 relativephasedifference (notshown) is indicative
of flood dominant flow near the
23O Internal Tidal Asymmetry

The prominentnorth-southgradientin M4 propertiesacrosssection NC1 may be

related to channel curvaturearound a point just upstreamof this section,or to the
fact that the north channelsplits into two branchchannelsabout 1 km landward of
this section. The M4 phasedistributionat NC2 showsabout a 180ø vertical phase
differencebetweenthe two maxima, with the sharpestchangesjust above and below
the mid-depth amplitude minimum. There is a further ~100ø phase progression
toward the bed. Lateral differencesare smaller than at NC1, possiblybecauseNC2
is farther from disturbingtopographicinfluencesthan NC1. The 2 M2-M4 relative
phase difference (not shown) is close to 0 ø, indicative of flood-dominantflow near
the bed. This is consistent with the direction of suspendedsediment transport
inferred below.

Cross-channelharmonicanalysisresults(not-shown)indicatea substantial(up to 0.6

ms-1) M2 tidal flow to the northon sectionNC1 whichevidentlyfeedsthe more
northerly branch channel. Cross-channelZ0 and M4 currentson NC1 are weaker;
there is a near-surface mean flow of 0.2-0.3 ms-1 flow to the south and a
compensatingnorthward flow of 0.1 ms-1 at depth.MaximumM4 cross-channel
currentamplitudeis <0.15 ms-1 withmostamplitudes lessthan0.1 ms-1. Cross-
channel M4 amplitudesare larger than the correspondingalong-channelamplitudes
throughoutthe mid-depth, along-channelvelocity minimum seen in Figure 10a,b.
There is also a 180ø phasereversalbetweenthe bed and 10 m depthin the northern
half of the channel. These resultssuggestthat secondarycirculationdue to channel
curvatureis alsoimportant,but issmallerthan thatcausedby internal tidal asymmetry.
Further evidence of the existenceof a spectrumof internal overridescan be seen in
data collectedfrom stationBB 1D in the southchannelETM (Figure 2) during a 50-
hr time serieson 9-10 July 1991 just after a springtide, duringa periodof tropictides
with a large diurnal inequality (Figure 11). The greater and lesser diurnal tidal
ranges were, respectively,3.3 and 1.1 m. The river dischargewas about average
7,200m3s-1,yieldinga riverflowof about0.14ms-• through
thissection.Asis typical
for spring tides in this system(Jay and Smith, 1990a), shear in the mean flow is
considerablyless than found on a neap tide at sectionsNC1 and NC2 (Figure 9),
becausestratificationis weaker. The calculatedmaximumM2 amplitudeof 1.05 ms-
1 is similartOthat seenin the NorthChannel.M4, 2MK5 andM6 all showvertical
phase changesof nearly 180ø and have amplitudestoo large to be barotropically
generated. The normalizedamplitudes(calculatedas in Figure 4 and basedon the
maximum amplitude in the vertical) are: 12.3, 8.16 and 7.37, respectively. M3
current amplitudes calculated from ADCP data also have an anomalouslylarge
normalizedratio of 8.13, but there is only about a 70ø phasevariation in the vertical
(exceptvery closeto the bed). This suggeststhat severalprocesses contributeto the
observedM3 currents. One that might be importantis the interactionof M2 vertical
shear with variations in vertical mixing arising from the presenceof diurnal tide,
which was quite large at this time.
The ADCP/CTDO data presented here represent only a small fraction of that
collected in the 1990-92 period at some 15 cross-sections seawardof the upstream
limits of salinity intrusion. An additional 17 time series stationswere occupied
Jay & Musiak 231

-10 -10 ,

-15 -15
-50 0 50 100 150 0 100 200 300

Amplitude [cm/sec] Phase [degrees]

0 , ' 0

-10 -10

i i
-15 -15
o 1o 20 0 100 200 300

Amplitude [cm/sec] Phase [degrees]

Figure11. Profilesof BB1D along-channel velocityamplitudeand phasedeterminedfrom

harmonicanalysisof 50 hrsof ADCP observations. The constituents
shownare: Z0 (--), K1 ('
'-'-), M2 ('") andM4 (--) above;andM3 (m), 2MK5 ('") andM6 (--) below.

October 1980 with a CTD fitted with a Marsh-McBierney electromagneticcurrent

meter. Plots from thesetime seriesstationsuniformly show evidenceof internal tidal
asymmetry,as do the bulk of the >200 mooredcurrentrecordscollectedin 1980-81
by ourselvesand the NationalOceanSurvey. The data here are typical rather than
In summary,analysesof CTDO/ADCP, like thoseof mooredcurrentmeter data,
stronglysupportthe existenceand importance of internalovertidecurrents,because
observedovertidecurrentsare too strongto be barotropicallygeneratedand exhibit a
180ø phasechangein the vertical. While suchreversalsoccurin both the across-
andalong-channel data,the influenceof internaltidal asymmetryin creatingresidual
and overtideflows is larger than that of channelcurvature.

Errors in ADCP Data

Commenton the accuracyof the ADCP data is merited. The principalconcernsfor

ADCP data collectedin open oceanenvironmentsare accuracyof the navigation
data, calibration of the coefficient between Doppler shift and velocity, and
instrumentorientation. Errors associatedwith these factors may cause a part of
232 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

ship speed over ground to appear in the calculated current velocity. The ratio
between ship speedand water speedis, however, a factor of 3 to 10 smaller in the
estuarineenvironment,bottom tracking is always used to remove vessel speed,and
instrumentorientationcan be determinedin our instrumentconfigurationwithin about
¾2ø. Shallowwaterdepths,moreover,allowsus to average60 to 70 pingsover 20s
(minimizing randomerrors),and the "percentgood"returnedby the ADCP is almost
always close to 100%, except within 15% of the flow-depth of the bottom. Thus, the
principal concernsfor our data set are quite different. They are: accuracyof ADCP
shear tracking; the errors induced in near-bed data by direct reflection from the bed
(i.e., side-lobecontamination);the effect on the gyrocompassof vesseltums; and the
effects of spatialaveragingover a roughbed.
RD Instrumentshas statedthat data quality in the bottom 15% of the water column
(2-3 m in our case) is suspect, because it may be contaminated by side-lobe
reflections from the bed (RD Instruments,1989). Moreover, shearnear the bed is too
large to be fully resolvedby the instrument(RDI, 1989). Nonetheless,the ADCP
data acquisitionsystem(DAS) softwarecontainsa switch that enablescollectionof
near-bed data, and this facility was used during the 1991 and 1992 cruises. We
stronglysuspectthat the only reasonthat the velocity usually appearsto go smoothly
to zero at the bed for individual ping ensemblesis that thesetwo errorstend to offset
one anotherin data from this part of the flow. On the one hand, failure to track shear
properly causes an overestimation of near-bed velocities, because velocities are
determined from the top of the profile down. On the other, the effect of direct
reflection from the bed is to underestimatethe calculatedvelocity magnitudein the
bottom 15% of the flow. There are two signsof the latter problem that may be seen
throughcareful inspectionof individual ping data (personalcommunication,J. Gast,
RD Instruments, 1993). First, vessel motion causes a systematic turning in the
direction of that motion in the near bed data. This is the natural result of averaging
ship motion over the bed into the calculatedvelocity. Second,signalreturn strength
(the "AGC" parameter)usuallybut not invariably showsan anomalousincreasenear
the bed despite sound attenuationwith depth. This phenomenoncould result from
reflection off sedimentin transportabove the bed, but it occurseven when the OBS
and echo sounderindicate that suspendedsedimentis absent. The net result of these
two offsetting errors appearsto be an aliasing of current direction more than of
currentmagnitude. In particular,currentphasesnear the bed are likely to be affected
only to the extent that along- and across-channel currentsare out of phase. Limited
experiencesuggests,in fact, that near-bed along- and across-channels velocities are
almost in phase,possiblybecausethe latter arisesfrom the former primarily through
centrifugal acceleration.
The effect of vessel tums on the gyrocompassis hard to evaluate. Although our
gyrocompasswas compensatedaccordingto the manufacturersinstructions,90ø
course changesevery few minutes (Figure 5) may still have causedsome errors.
Fortunately however, the Schuler oscillation that may be induced in an improperly
compensated gyrocompass by sharp vessel tums does not have a period that
correspondsto any of the tidal constituentscalculated above. It should not,
therefore, contaminateharmonicanalysisresults. Finally, ping ensemble
Jay& Musiak 233

givena typicalshipspeed
of 4 ms-1,spatial
overa pathof-80 m. Movementover sandwavesand otherchangesin bottom
depthwill causeerrorsthatwill typicallybe at a maximumnearthebed.
The numberand complexityof the variouserrorsdiscussed
abovedo not allow any
of errorsin ADCPvelocities
to be made. Nonetheless,
data from about a dozen stations in the Columbia River estuary show signs of
internal tidal asymmetry,as do moored current meter records. The qualitative
of theseresultssuggest
in harmonicanalyses
dataareontheorderof a few cms-1 throughout
mostof thewatercolumn.Evenif
the near-beddata were ultimatelyto be rejectedas invalid, this would not affect any
part of the aboveargumentconcerning the existence
andmagnitudeof internaltidal
asymmetry. It might, however,renderindeterminate the senseof the asymmetry
(flood or ebb-dominant)near the bed, becauseovertidephasechangerapidly with
depthhere. Fortunately,conclusionspresented belowconcerning the importanceof
internalasymmetry to sedimenttransportdo not restentirelyon CTDO andADCP
data, but are buttressedby currentmeter data as well. Nor can any error estimates
in Figure6. Turbulent
of the
water column causes inversions in the densities calculated from CTDO data; these
wereeliminatedduringprocessing.Thus,the majoruncertainties in calculatedRig
cansurelybe ascribedto the limitedresolution
of shearandrandomerrorsinherentin
ADCP data.

Models of Linear and Non-Linear Residual Flow Modes

The observations presentedin the previoussectiondemonstratethe existenceof

substantial,internallygeneratedovertidesand a large, along-channel
witha top-to-bottom
of-0.9-1 ms-1. Thepurpose
of thissection
is to partitionthis observed
meanflow amongstthe variousresidualflow modesthat
may be expectedto contributeto it. We calculatethe laterally averaged,linear
residualflow in a channelof constantmean depth H under conditionsof tidal and
buoyancyforcingobserved at sectionNC1. The linearresidualis the sumof a mean
outflowUp. (riverflow plus Stokesdrift compensationflow) and a gravitational
circulationUG. This sumis thencomparedto the non-linearresidualUSDcausedby
internaltidal asymmetry;i.e., that drivenby tidally-varyingverticaleddydiffusivity
and tidally varying shear. The non-linearresidualarising from the convective
accelerations has not been estimated,primarily becauseearlier calculationsfound it
to be small for a channelof constantwidth and depth(Jay and Smith, 1990b). The
analysisis basedon a perturbationexpansionand proceedsunderthe assumptions
that all residual flow modes are: 1) small relative to the tidal flow; and 2) linearly
i.e., theyinteractwitheachotheronlyat higherorder. A detailedaccount
of the perturbationanalysisis not includedherein.
The two-dimensional(in x and z) model used in thesecalculationsis a balance of
meanverticalmomentumflux divergence,includingits non-linearcomponentfor
234 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

internal asymmetrymode, againsta mean pressuregradient. U G is forced by a tidal

of x. Thetotal,integral
dischargeQR is also spatially uniform. These along-channelsimilarity assumptions
were first employed by Hansen and Rattray (1965) and lead a linear residual flow
that is independent of x. In contrast to prior analytical solutions for the linear
residual flow, the present model uses a realistic vertical eddy diffusivity profile
by thegradientRichardson
numberRig. Theeddydiffusivitymodelused
is essentially that of Long (1981), wherein Km is the product of a neutral eddy
diffusivityKm anda stratification
Sr (Rig), the form of whichis due to
Bloss (1985):

Km(z) = Kn(z)Sr(Rig)

Kn(z)= k u. z e-1•

= (1+ ¾Rig)-I (1)

where: k = 0.41 is von Karmann'sconstant,¾ = 3, the length scale 1 was taken as

one quarterof the meandepthH, the friction velocityu. (=0.03 ms-1) was
determinedinteractively in the tidal calculation, and z is taken as upward from the
bed. A no-slip conditionwas appliedat z = zo and a zero-stressconditionat the free
surface. A value of zo = 0.002 m was used to accountfor the presenceof fully-
developedbedforms. The depth H was taken as 20 m. Calculationof the residual
due to internal tidal asymmetryrequires determinationof the tidal-mean Km0 and
Kmlpartsof Km in termsof thetidal-mean
partsof Rig:
= Kn(z)(1 + ¾Rig0)-

Kml= Km- Km0

----¾RiglKm(z)(1 + ¾Rig0)
-1 (2)
Kn is taken as time invariant. Each residual flow mode containstwo unknowns,the
along-channelvelocity (a function of z and for USD, of x also) and a surfaceslope.
The latter is determinedfor each mode from a mass conservationrequirementthat is
an integral form of the continuity equation. The gravitational circulation and the
residual due to internal asymmetry integrate to zero over depth, while the mean
outflow integratesto a known fiver dischargeplus Stokesdrift compensationflow QR.
Closed-form solutions for all residual flow modes are readily derived, but these
contain integrals that cannot in general be evaluated analytically. Numerical
integrationswere, therefore,performedin MathematicaTM.
Forcing functionsfor all residual modeswere taken from observations. The density
harmonic analysisof the along-channelsalinity differencebetween stationsNCD and
Rig0 andRigl profilesneeded
to specifyKin0andKml in (2) weredeterminedfrom
harmonic analysis
of the timeseriesof calculated
Rigtat stationNCB (Figure
Jay & Musiak 235

takingtheM2 component of thetime-variability

to representRig1. Theformsof Rig0
and Rigl shownin Figure 12 are analyticalapproximations to theseharmonic
analysisresults,usingthefactthatRigis twiceRigtfor Rigt = 0.5. Rig0hada broad
maximumat mid-depth,while Rigl hadmaximajust abovethe bedandbelowthe
free surface,and a 180ø phasechangenear mid-depth. These featuresare inherited
by Kml, and the total verticaleddy diffusivityKm (z) = Km0 (z) + Kml (z) is positive
definite. This simple formulationreproducesthe most essentialfeature of the fairly
complex RiGT distributionshownin Figure 6; it causesKm(z) to be relatively large
near the bed during late flood and near the free surfaceduringlate ebb (Figure 12).


-1 -o.5 o.5 1

o o15

Figure12. Profiles(above)of meanRig0 (--) andtidallyvaryingRig1 (--) partsof the

RichardsonnumberRig (thelattershown
forlateebb),andbelowof theverticaleddy
Km= Kin0+ Kml(inm2s
-1)forlateflood(--) andforlateebb(--). Depths
meters. These parameters are used to drive models of gravitational circulation UG, mean
outflowU R andthe non-linearresidualdue to internaltidal asymmetryU SD. Note that Km0 +
Kmlis positivedefinitein themodel,whereas themodelRig0 + Rig1 is <0 at sometimes
thetidalcycle.Harmonic analysis
of Rigt in Figure
6 shows
that,whilethesumof Rig
at all frequenciesmust be positive definite, this is not true for the sum of its mean and M2
parts;thus the model is not unrealisticin this regard. Model propertiesare discussedin the
236 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

The mean gravitational velocity solution containsa single non-dimensionalnumber

(Jay and Smith, 1990b):

F1= (gH3/Xpo)/(po
K0Ls0i ) (3)

where:g = 9.8 ms-2, K0 = ku. H is the scalefor Km,Ls is the salinityintrusion

length,Apo/Po--0.02 is thestratification
scale,andOi is a velocityscalefor
of the
solution (Figure 13). F1 is determinedprimarily by its cubic dependenceon H
K0is, for a giventidalflow,relatively
of H -- changes
in H
and u. largely offset one another. The choice of Ui is unimportant for present
onOi disappears
in thedimensional
formof the
solutionshownin Figure 13. The profile of the mean outflow is determinedentirely
by theRigprofileandtheoutflowQR. The surfaceslopeassociated
with eachmode
is set by a second non-dimensional number that scales the bedstress;it does not
appear in the velocity profile solutions. QR, Ls, H, and Apo/Po used in these
calculationswere all chosento provide a generousupper limit on the shearthat can
be producedby steadydensity-drivencirculationand mean outflow.

Experimentation with the model showed that, while details of the riverflow and
gravitationalcirculationprofileswere quite sensitiveto the Rig profile,realistic
parameterchoicesyielded only about 40% of the observedmean velocity difference
of -1 ms-1 betweentopandbottom(Figure13). In particular,
velocity difference in the mean outflow profile cannotbe more than about 150% of
the verticalaverageof the meanoutflowvelocity,0.2 ms-1 in thiscase. Greater
mean shearscan only be producedby reducingthe mixing level in the pycnoclineto
that of molecular viscosity. This is inconsistent with the mixing seen in echo
soundertraces(e.g., Figure 8) and also concentratestoo much shearat mid-depth.
Moreover, given this large river discharge,it is impossibleto develop significant,
mean upstreambottom flow in the linear residualflow modes.

The residual along-channel velocity associatedwith internal asymmetry USD (x,z)

depends upon the vertical shear in a non-dimensional,laterally averaged, tidal
P(z)eit],whereRe[M(x)eit] is thenon-
dimensional tidal surface elevation. P(z) is found from a tidal momentum
a tidalbaroclinic
3P1/3x. The
boundary conditionsare no slip at z0 and zero stressat the free surface. The wave
numberin M(x) is set from a verticallyintegratedwave equation. The assumptionof
constantdepth H requires that the reflected wave vanish; thus, dissipationcauses
M(x) to decayslowlyin theupriver
harmonic analysis. It is in phase with U1, and its vertical distribution is
approximatedby a parabola with a maximum at mid-depth. The solution for P(z)
was found by a shooting method based on the linear differential equation solution
algorithm in Mathematica TM. U1 (x,z,t) has a weak subsurfacemaximum due to the
joint effects of baroclinicforcing and stratification(Figure
Jay & Musiak 237

• • 20

-0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1

Figure13. Modelpredictions
of dimensional
UG (--), UR (...) andtheir sumUNET (--) in
ms-1. Depths
Notethatthesumof thetwolinearmodes
bottomflow, because
of thelargemeanoutflowUR. The totaltop-to-bottom
differenceis alsomuch smallerthan that observed(Figure 9).




-0.5 0.5 1 1.5 2

14. Tidalmodel
U1 amplitude
(--) in ms -1
(----) inradians,
andshear•U1/•zamplitude(--) inms-1 andphase ('") in
of •U1/•zandthetime-varying
diffusivityKml drivethemodelfor USD. Note the sub-surface
tidal velocitymaximum,as in
238 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

Both the time-average and tidal parts of Km are assumedto be independentof x.

ß Thealong-channel

+ 0/0I ( (Kml
P')')= F2øq•SD/oqx (4)

3•SD/3xis a surface
0 is thetidalvelocity
E0i is theinternal
asymmetryvelocity scale,a prime indicatesa z derivative,brackets( ) indicatea
time averageof a non-linearterm that has both residual and overridepans, and F 2
scalesthe surfacesloperelative to the bedstress.This second-orderinhomogeneous
differential equation may be integrated in closed form. The solution contains
integrals of the non-linear forcing term, however, and these were evaluated
numerically. The dimensionalsolutionfor USD shownin Figure 15 is independentof
E0•; itsmagnitudeis setby 0, whichis determined
by thetidalamplitude
3•SD]3xis foundfromthecontinuity requirement
that0• (x,z)integrate
zero; F 2 doesnot appearin the solutionfor USD. The structureof USD is determined
principally by: 1) the vertical structuresof Km0 and Kml; and 2) the phasedifference
between U• and Kml which was specifiedfrom harmonic analysisof data presented
in Figure 6.





-0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.2

Figure 15. Model predictionof the dimensionalresidualdue to internaltidal asymmetry,U SD

inms-1. USDisthelargest
formostof the
net upstreambottom
Jay & Musiak 239

The solution (Figure 15) determined for USD shows a top-to-bottom velocity
differenceof about0.5 ms-1, with outflownear the free surfaceand a maximumof
almost 0.3 ms-1 of landward flow at about 15 m. The sum of the three modes shown
in Figures 13 and 15, that is of the mean outflow, gravitational circulation and
internal tidal asymmetry, produces a total top-to-bottom velocity difference of
-0.9 ms-1, verycloseto thatfoundin nature. Discrepancies
and reality may be due to the three--dimensionalityof the actual flow, or perhapsto
the presencein nature of a non-linearresidualdriven by the convective acceleration,
which we did not calculate. The latter mode typically causes,however, landward
currents near the free surface and seaward flow near the bed (Ianniello, 1977).
Nonetheless,thesemodel resultsindicate that: 1) internal asymmetryis the largest
residual flow mode; and 2) most of the residual shear is producedby non-linear,
rather than linear processes. While gravitational circulation and internal tidal
asymmetry both produce landward flow near the bed, these models suggeststhat a
substantialupstreambottom flow in a tidal fiver with a large freshwater flow is
diagnosticof internal tidal asymmetry.
In sununary,there is compelling evidencethat overtide currentsand mean shearsare
too large in the Columbia River estuaryto be accountedfor in terms of barotropic
tidal forcing and by steady,density driven circulation,respectively. Observations
and model results suggestthat the pattern of bottom-intensifiedfloods and surface-
intensified ebbs observed in the Columbia River and numerous estuaries is most
readily explained in terms of internal tidal asymmetry, which appears in these
systemsto be the dominantcauseof both residual and overtide circulation.

Discussion:The Meaning and Importance of Internal Tidal


An analogy between the tidal distortionof the free surface(commonly known as

barotropictidal asymmetry)and that of the density field (here referred to as internal
tidal asymmetry)has playedan importantrole in the analysespresentedabove. The
same analogy leads to several further questions. First, only "flood-oriented"internal
tidal asymmetry has been observed. While the mechanismsdiscussedherein would
lead to an "ebb-oriented"internal asymmetryin a negativeestuary,it is unclear from
available observationswhethersuch an asymmetryis possiblein a positive estuary.
Furthermore,tidal bores epitomize the developmentof flood-oriented barotropic
asymmetry - does an internal analog exist? We may disregard here internal
hydraulicjumps and other processesassociatedwith the interactionof tides with sills
- a proper analog to a tidal bore would require at most only a weakly convergent
channel. Further observationsand analysesare required to answer such questions.
Finally, we may ask whetheror not internally generatedoverridesare truly waves.
The answer to this questionis fairly simple: internal ovenides do not have a wave
number, decay uniformly with increasing x, and do not propagate. They are,
therefore, oscillations but not
240 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

InternalAsymmetryand ScalarTransport
It is also importantto considerthe consequences of internal overridegenerationfor
scalartransport. Jay (1991c) has shownthat correlationsof velocity shearand scalar
stratification at mean, tidal and override frequencies bring about the landward
transport that maintains estuarine scalar distributionsagainst export by riverflow.
Harmonic analysis results show that salinity variability in the Columbia River
estuaryis primarily at mean and tidal frequencies. Physically, we expect landward
transportof salt near the bed by the mean flow, becausesalinity and velocity both
exceed their vertical averagesnear the bed. To the extent then that the mean flow
controls salinity intrusion, internal tidal asymmetryis likely to play a dominantrole
therein, as previously suggestedby West et aI. (1990). In the Columbia River
estuary,however, more than half of the landward salt transportoccursat and above
mid-depth by tidal mechanisms (Jay and Smith, 1990c). This occurs because
salinity is somewhat higher at mid-depth on flood than on ebb. Internal tidal
asymmetryapparentlydoesnot play a major role in this tidal salt transport.
Internal tidal asymmetryis more importantfor suspended sedimenttransport,because
bed stressand suspendedsediment concentrationhave maxima on both flood and
ebb. Suspendedsedimentconcentrationharmoniccomponentscomputedfrom OBS
data have, like non-linearly generatedbaroclinic currents,strong residual and M4
componentsnear the bed (Figures 16-18). Landward near-bottom flow therefore




10 15 20 25 30 35


15 ,


10 15 20 25 30 3'5

Figure 16. Time series of suspendedsedimentconcentrationas OBS output (in formazine

turbidity units or FTUs)4 m above the bed at NC-B (*) and a harmonic fit thereto ( ) in
(a); and the major constituentsof this harmonicdecompositionin (b). The constituentsshown
are: Z0 (--), K 1 (--), M2 (--), M4 ( ..... ) andM8 ('" ). Sedimentologicalanalysesshow that
the OBS-suspendedsedimentrelationshipin this systemin quite linear; 1 FTU was about 1.5
Jay & Musiak


300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100



300 400 500 600 7•0 800 900 1000 1100


M2 PHASE [degrees]

• • -220
••1o • 280"

• 20 :

300 400 500 6•0 700 800 900 1000 1100


Figure17. Suspended
sedimentharmonic constants(in FTUs)for Z0 (top),M2 amplitude
(middle)andphase(bottom)on sections
NC1 (in a) andNC2 (in b) calculated
from OBS
observations. Landward, near-bed residual flow and substantial residual sediment
causelandwardsedimenttransporton both NC1 and NC2. The small M 2
phasedifferencesindicatethat M2 also contributestowardlandward
suspended sediment
on bothsections.M 2 sedimentconcentrations are, however,
quitesmallon NC2. The sedimentconcentrationtime-series
at stationAA was incomplete,
and no harmonicanalysiswas possible.

implieslandwardresidualsediment transporton both sections

NC1 and NC2
(compareFigures9 and17). TheM4 components of thesediment
are alsonearlyin phase(Figures10 and 18), particularlyover the portionof the
channelwheremost sedimenttransportoccurson sectionNC1 in Figure 8. One
interestingdifference between sectionsNC1 and NC2 is that M sediment
concentrationsare negligibleon the latter but not the former,where
242 Internal Tidal Asymmetry


,• 0


•. 2o

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 lOOO



•5 • 4

300 400 500 600 7•)0 800 900 1000


M2 PHASE [degrees]

• o
• 160
:•1o 160 •
,v_ 200
• 240 ---
•.. 2o

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 lOOO


NC1(ina) andNC2(inb)calculated
onbothNC1andNC2. ThesmallM2
thatM2 alsocontributes
M2 sedimentconcentrations
andno harmonicanalysiswaspossible.

9 and17). Harmonic
of onemonth
of datafromanAanderaa
flow for suspended
transport.M4 is (afterZ0) thelargest
in thetransmissivity
andthealong-channel M4 velocityis
Jay & Musiak 243



•. 2o

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100


M4 PHASE [degrees]

•, o
280 -.__

•1o 240
---------•- 200

•. 20

3OO 4OO 5OO 6OO 7•0 800 900 1000 1100


o• , ,

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000

M4 PHASE[degrees]

•' 0 t' • 280 '

• Y-- 280•

•1o •_•• 240•
•_ 20

300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1ooo


Fi8m:c18. Suspended scd•cnt harmonicconstants(in FTUs) for M 4 amplitude(top) and

phase(bottom)on sections
NC1 (in a) andNC2 (in b) calculated
fTomOB$ observations.M 4
contributesto landwaxdsuspended
scd•cnt •ansport on DothsccQons.

phase with the transmissivitywithin 45 min. Data from another near-bed current
meter at station5a (Figure 2) gave very similar results. Thus, internal overtide and
residual flows driven by tidal asymmetryare apparentlythe primary
244 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

mechanismcausingtrappingof particulatesin estuarineturbidity maxima, at least in

the Colombia River estuary(Jay and Musiak, 1993).
Finally, tidal variations in vertical mixing should also influence sediment and salt
conservation,not just becauseof theft effects on the velocity field, but also directly;
i.e., through the vertical turbulentscalarflux divergenceterm that appearsin scalar
conservationequations. Consider salt as an example. Suppose,consistentwith
observations,that the greatestpart of the salinity variance is in the mean and tidal
bands. The salinity distributionsat these two frequenciesshould interact with each
other through a term in the sedimentconservationequation involving time-varying
vertical mixing. Time-varying vertical mixing should also provide (in addition to
tidal advection of the tidally varying salinity field) a second mechanism for
generating override variations in salinity concentration. The influence of tidal
advection and internal asymmetry should be distinguishable, however, by vertical
variationsin override salinity phase. Tidal advectionshouldcauseovertide salinities
variationswith weak variationsin phaseover the water column, whereasthe overtide
salinity variation inducedby internal asymmetryshouldexhibit a characteristic180ø
degreechangeof phasein the vertical.

Observations in Other Estuaries

A definitive evaluation of the importanceof internal tidal asymmetryrequires the

comparisonof overtidesin currentand surfaceelevationrecordscarriedout above for
the Columbia River estuary. The basic requirementfor the existenceof internal tidal
asymmetryis, however, the presenceof strongforcing by both river and tides, and a
preliminary diagnosiscan be made on the basis of substantialflood-ebb differences
in stratificationand the velocity profile. Systemswhere suchvariationshave been
previously observedinclude: the Great Ouse (West et al., 1984), the Duwamish
(Partch and Smith, 1978), the Columbia River estuary (Jay, 1987, 1990); Grays
Harbor (Beveredge and Swecker, 1969), North San Francisco Bay (Meade, 1972;
Walters et al., 1985), the Hudson River (Zhou, 1992), the Tay (Bullet et al., 1975),
the Tamar (West et al., 1990; Darbyshire and West, 1991), the Tees (Lewis and
Lewis, 1983), the Fraser River (Geyer, 1988), the Weser (Lang et al., 1989), the
Scheldt (Nihoul et al., 1978) and the East River tidal strait (Long, 1978; Brown and
Dingle, 1983; R. Wilson, personalcommunication). Three macrotidal estuariesin
France (the Seine, Aulne and Gironde; Allen et al., 1977, 1980; Avoine et al., 1981)
and four systemsin Malaysir (the Klang, Bernam, Langat and Selangor River-
estuaries;Ibrahim, et al., 1992) all showstrongtidal changesin stratification,but no
velocity measurementsare available. Even the microtidal Mississippi River exhibits
a weak tidal variation in stratification (Wright, 1971; Meade, 1972). Internal
asymmetryalso routinely appearsin numericalsimulations. The earliest example is
probablythe RotterdamWaterwaymodelof Bowdenand Hamilton(1975). Walters
(1994) has concluded that time-varying vertical mixing is essential to proper
reproductionin a three-dimensional
numericalmodel of even the major
Jay & Musiak 245

tidal constituentsin Delaware Bay. This again suggeststhat internal asymmetry is

likely very common.

Summaryand Conclusions
Moored instrument observations show that overtide currents are often a factor of five
to 10 too large to be generatedfrom the barotropicovertide in the Columbia River

ADCP data indicatethat overtidecurrentstypically exhibit a 180ø changein phase

in the vertical, a characteristicof internal modes that integrate to zero over depth.
The fact that these currents disappearupstreamof salinity intrusion indicates that
their source is related to salinity intrusion. The causativemechanismis an internal
tidal asymmetryassociatedwith tidal strainingof the horizontal density gradient and
consequenttidal variations in stratification. Cross-sectionaldistributions of M 4
currentamplitudesand phasesare, however, complex and appearto be influencedby
topography and channel curvature as well. The cross-sectionaldistribution of the
mean flow is simpler,resemblingin this regardthat of M 2. Observationsand model
of-1 ms-1 is
toolarge to be attributedto any combinationof river outflowand steadydensityforcing;
internal tidal asymmetryis also the dominantcauseof the residual circulation.
Baroclinic residual and overtide flows in shallow, strongly forced estuariesare best
thought of in the context of wave non-linearity-generatedmodes, exactly as is the
case for barotropicmean and overtide flows. While steady gravitational circulation
is importantin the weakly forced asymptoteof an essentiallysteadydensity field, its
influence is overwhelmed by more potent, tidal non-linearities in strongly forced
systems. This can also be understoodin terms of the Jay and Smith (1988) estuarine
classificationdiagram (Figure 19) for shallowestuaries. This diagram suggeststhat
systems with strong advection of the density field and thus strong internal non-
linearities are transitional. They are on or near the boundariesbetween the highly
stratified, partially mixed and/or weakly stratified states. They may exhibit tidal
monthly or seasonalchangesfrom one circulation type to another, without however,
loosingthe characteristicof having stronginternal tidal asymmetry. Shallow systems
that have a residual circulation dominated by steady, gravitational circulation are
those with weak barotropic (FT small in Figure 19) and weak baroclinic non-
linearities (FB large or small). Such systemsoccupythe lower left and lower fight
comers of Figure 19 and may be either partially mixed or highly stratified. Deep
estuariesare also likely (at least away from sills and constrictions)to be dominated
by gravitationalcirculation, becauseits influence increasesroughly with the cube of
the depth, while tidal non-linearitiesscale with the ratio of tidal amplitude to mean
depth. If an estuary is sufficiently deep relative to its tidal forcing, then steady
density-drivencirculation will be more important than internal asymmetry. Large,
deep estuaries are also often, of course, affected by atmospheric effects not
246 Internal Tidal Asymmetry

iO o

H•ghly- Stratified Weakly- Stratified

ß BFu


Au-lf NM©

x• x/ eSW

i0 • io


Figure 19. Classificationof tidal channelestuarieson the basis of an external Froude number
FT, the ratio of tidal amplitudeto mean depth,and an internalFroudenumberF B calculated
from the densityfield as describedin Jay (1988). Althoughthe dependenceof F B on tidal flow
U riverflow UR varies somewhatwith the type of estuary, decreasingU and increasingU R
decreasesF B in all cases. Estuarieswith strong internal tidal asymmetry are those where
fluvial and tidal forces are balancedsuchthat FB is O(1). Symbolsinclude If = low riverflow,
hf = high riverflow. Estuariesreferred to in the text as showing signs of internal tidal
asymmetryinclude: Au = Aulne, CR = Columbia River estuary,FR = Fraser River estuary,
Du = Duwamish Estuary and Mi = MississippiRiver. Others are defined in Jay and Smith
(1988), from which this figure is adapted.

Internal tidal asymmetry plays an important role in maintenanceof estuarine salt

balancesthroughits contributionto the residualshear. It is particularlyimportantfor
suspendedsedimenttransport,becausesuspendedsedimentvariability is strongat
residual and overtide frequencies, and because internal tidal asymmetry causes
landward,near-bedtransportat thesesamefrequencies.

Acknowledgements. This work has been supported by the National Science

Foundation'sLand Margin EcosystemResearchprogramundergrant OCE-8918193.
We dedicatethis paper to the late Dan Stiebritz,a goodfriend and a terrific skipper
of the R/V Snow Goose. We also thank Jim Stiebritz of the R/V Snow Goose,
Jay & Musiak 247

Phil Crawfordand Ray McQuin of the R/V Barnes for their enthusiastichelp in data
collection. Robert Wilson of State University of New York at Stony Brook provided
helpful plots of unpublishedNOS data from the East River tidal strait. Erik
Butterworth assistedin the reduction of the ADCP data, and Cynthia Cudaback in
the analysisof the current meter data.


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Relative Contributions of Interfacial and

Bed GeneratedMixing to the Estuarine
Energy Balance
R. E. Lewis


The results of fixed station sampling in a partially stratified estuary have been used
to determine the variation in the potential energy anomaly during a tidal cycle. The
results indicated that the anomaly at a given station had a similar magnitude at
successivehigh waters. Also, it was found that the rate of change of potential
energy anomaly was of similar magnitude to the rate of change of the rotational
kinetic energy of the flow throughoutthe tide. The rate of potential energy change
due to mixing during the tide was computed and, by comparing the findings with
theoretical values for bed generated energy, the proportion of turbulent energy
contributing to mixing was calculated. These mixing efficiencies were found to
increase with the layer Richardson number, apparently due to an increasing
contributionfrom interfacially generatedenergy. At two stationsin the central reach
of the estuary, the ratio of eddy diffusivity to viscosity coefficients responded to
Richardsonnumber in the manner describedby Munk and Anderson (1948). The
correspondingrate of generation of turbulent energy at the bed of the estuary was
estimated to be approximately 5 times the generation rate at the pycnocline.
However, locally generated energy was much more efficient in weakening the
degree of stratification and, at higher Richardsonnumbers, less than 10% of the
mixing energyoriginatedat the bed. At a stationfurtherto landward,the responseof
mixing efficiency to Richardson number was less rapid, apparently due to the
influence of the longitudinal gradient in density.

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

Volume50, Pages250-266
Copyright1996by theAmericanGeophysical
Lewis 251


Studiesof mixing in coastalwatershave made use of a parameter• which describes

the potentialenergyanomalyof the water column. In situationswhere solarheating
is consideredto be the main sourceof stability, determinationsof • have been used
to define regions where thermal fronts occur (Pingtee and Griffiths, 1978). By
comparingthe rate at which turbulentenergyis generatedby tidal mixing with the
rate of supplyof stability by heating,observed• valueshave been used to estimate
the fraction of the tidally generatedenergyutilised in mixing (Simpsonand Bowers,
1981). This ratio is termed the mixing efficiency •.

In an estuary,the input of buoyancyis primarily due to freshwaterbut this doesnot

have the spatial uniformityof surfaceheating(Nunes Vaz et el., 1989). For this
reason, estimatesof the stability increaseat a particular location have made use of
direct observationsof the longitudinaldensity gradient, as demonstratedin the Irish
Sea (Simpson et el., 1990). However, e is likely to vary with the degree of
stratification and allowance for stability effects on efficiency has been included in
somemodels(Simpson,1981; Simpsonand Bowers, 1981).
This paper describeshow the rate of potential energy changedue to mixing was
computedat three stationsin the Tees estuary. Theseresultswere usedto relate the
efficiency of mixing to the interfacial stability, as defined by a layer Richardson
number. Comparisonsof the responseof mixing to Richardsonnumber were made
with previous studiesand estimateswere made of the proportionof total mixing
energyattributableto dissipationof tidal energyby bottomfriction.


The potentialenergyanomalyq>can be computedfrom the instantaneous

of densityover depthusingthe formula
g h
q>= • I0(P-Pm)
zdz (1)
where,p, Prn representthe densityat a depthz downfrom the surfaceand the depth
mean densityover the total depthh respectively.
In an estuary, the centre of mass of the water column rises and falls with
corresponding changesin the surfaceelevation. Taking the mean tide level as the
zero of potential energy, elevation or depressionof the surface relative to this
equilibrium level representsstoredpotential energy. In the absenceof vertical
mixing, the ebb tide shearin velocity relative to the mean flow brings less saline
water down in the surface layer whilst an equal volume of more saline water is
carriedlandwardsin the lower layer. This has the effect of redistributingthe density
so that the centre of massis displaceddownwardsrelative to the centre of mass
252 Bed GeneratedMixing

the overall (fully mixed) column. This correspondsto an increasein the magnitude
of •. Depending on the form of the velocity profile, an analogousprocesscan
increaseor decreasethe potential energy anomalyon the flood tide.

In contrastto the effect of shear,mixing can only decreasethe displacementof the

centre of massfrom that of the fully mixed water column. Thus mixing always tend
to reduce the size of the potential energy anomaly. If the rate of lowering of the
centre of massby current shearrelative to the depth mean flow matchesthe rate of
raising of the centre of mass by mixing, then the potential energy anomaly remains
constant. The dependenceof the potential energy anomaly on shearand mixing can
be expressedas

= (2)
where •s is that part of the potential energy anomaly associatedwith current shear
and 0 is the mixing energy required to render the water column homogeneous.
Following Simpsonet al. (1990), the rate of changein potentialenergydue to shear
can be expressedas

•t h••PxP((U_am)
h zdz (3)
whereu, um are the currentand the depthmean currentrespectively. This implicitly
assumesthat changesin potential energy due to cross-estuaryflows and mixing can
be neglected. Although this may be a significant factor towards the edge of an
estuary, transversevariations in density tend to be small in the main channel of a
narrow estuaryand the neglectof suchprocessesmay be reasonable(Lewis, 1979).
Even in the absenceof vertical mixing, oscillatory motion can cause the estuary to
stratifyon an ebb tide and to destratifyon a flood. This was shownby Simpsonet al.
(1990) in estimating the instantaneouscontribution of shear to stratification by
considering the combined effects of estuarine circulation and tidal straining, the
latterprocessbeingdependenton the velocityprofile due to tidal motion. As
and •s/•t can be estimatedfrom observationsof the densityand velocitystructure,
•0/•t can be calculatedusingequation(2).

The mixing efficiency e representsthe fraction of the turbulent kinetic energy,

arising from bottom friction, that is usedto increasethe potentialenergy of the water
column(Bowden,1983: p 232). It follows that is e givenby
e = '•-/Pb (4)
where Pb is the time rate of generationof turbulenceat the bed. Pb can be estimated
from the formula

Pb= CdP h (5)
where Ca is a drag coefficientand Um is the depthmean
Lewis 253

30/3t is the rate changeof potentialenergyof the wholewatercolumnand can be

efficiency can be expressedas

e k,at+ at/ Pb (6)
wherethe subscripts
of interfacialandbedorigin.
If it is assumedthat the contributionof bed generatedturbulenceto the mixing
in directproportion
to the rateat whichthisturbulence
is generated
at the
bed then

/ Pb= ek(constant) (7)
By definition,the flux Richardson
numberis the ratio of the rate of increaseof
potentialenergyto the rateof production
of turbulentenergyby interfacialshear.
Thus Rf is given by

Rf - aoi
/ Pi (8)

It followsfrom equations(6), (7) and (8) that

= + œk (9)

There is evidencethat the ratio Pi/Pb may be approximatelyconstantsince a strong

shearat the bed is likely to resultin a strongshearacrossa densityinterface,as for
in theFraserRiverestuary

Field investigations

Descriptionof the estuary

The River Tees is situatedon the north-eastcoastof Englandand flows out into the
NorthSea(Figure1). Theestuaryof theRiverTeeshasbeenmaderelativelycanal-
like at its seawardendby reclamationof the intertidalmud flats anddredgingof the
shipping channel.Thetidallimitis at Middleton St.George,whichliessome44 km
fromtheestuarymouth,butthesaltwedgeonlypenetrates about26 km inland. The
landwardhalf of the estuaryis madeup of a seriesof meanderloopsand thereis a
small tributary,the River Leven, in this
254 Bed GeneratedMixing


Figure1. Locationandplanview of TeesEstuaryshowing1990surveysamplingstations.

The annualaveragefreshwater flow of theRiverTeesis 20 m3 s-], witha typical

rangefrom2 to 70 m3 s-1. Themeanneapandspring tidalranges are2.3and4.6m
respectivelyand, even on the highestrangeof tide, the estuaryremainspartially


In June,1990, a surveyof the currentand densitystructureof the Teesestuarywas 5 anchoredstationsalong a central section. The measurements were
undertakenover a full tidal period on three days of neaprange and three days of
springs. Currents,salinitiesand temperatureswere determinedat one metreintervals
over depth every half-hour. The current speedand directionwere measured
Lewis 255

velocity_+0.05 m s-1) andthe salinitiesand
temperatureswere measuredwith MC5 conductivity bridges (estimated accuracies:
temperature_+0.1 øC; salinity _+0.05).
Sets of data obtained on 11 June, 1990, were selectedfor more detailed analysis
becausecomplete recordshad been obtained on that occasion. These measurements
were made at station3, which was just upstreamof the TransporterBridge, station4
in the middle of Billingham Reach and station 5, which was located between the
Stocktonand Newport Bridges(Figure 1). The tidal range on that day was 4.1 m and
2.5m3 s-1.


The temperatureand salinity data from the three stationswere used to computethe
density at each samplingdepth. The potential energy anomaly was then computed
from thesedensityvaluesusingequation(1) and plotted againsttime (Figure 2). A
feature of these plots is that the qbvalues undergo considerablevariation during a
tidal period but have approximatelythe same values at times of high water. Thus at
high water, both the water level and the degree of stratification return to similar
values to those held at the previous high water. This suggests that, despite
considerablechangesin the anomaly at all three stationsduring the tidal period, an
internal energy balance occurs. Furthermore,the magnitude of qbat high water
decreases from station 3 to station 5, implying that there is a decrease in
stratificationwith distanceup the estuary.
The time rate of decreaseof potentialenergydue to shear,3qb/3t,was computed
using equation (3) and the variation in this parameter during a tidal cycle was
plotted for all three stations (Figure 3). It can be seen that this parameter is
generally positive, implying that the effect of shear is to increasethe stratification
over most of the tidal period. Reductionin the rate of potential energy decreaseat
the end of the flood tide is apparently due to the surface current increasing the
surfacelayer density faster than that at depth, as would be expectedwhen the tidal
shearexceedsthat due to the steadystatecirculation.

Using equation (2), the time rate of increase in the potential energy of the water
column, 3q•/3t,due to mixing alonewas computed. The variationin theserates
during a tide are presentedin Figure 4. It can be seen that, generally, the fastest
rates occurredat half ebb and half flood, with very little mixing at high and low
water slack. It is estimatedthat the error in the determinationof 30/3t was _+3 x 10-3
J m-3 s-1 whichis sufficientto accountfor the occasional
negativevalue. In
practice,a negativevalue for 30/3t cannotoccursincemixing can only increasethe
potential energy of the water column. Allowing for this degree of error, it can be
seenfrom Figure4 that the 30/3t valuesreachedrelatively similar levels on the ebb
tideat all threestations,
to about0.02J m-3 s-1,although
appreciabletime difference between these
256 Bed GeneratedMixing


80- • ST•T•C•
• /
/'• \ ,'::"..
'. ;
.... .•o.. / .. •.-:/ •,

,,, .: •

40-"-,, ,, ..: • ...


0 '•.;-,;'.-'
i i i . i i
6• • •o • • • •6

Figure 2. Variation in potential energy anomaly during tide.


• S'fATIC• 3
.... STATION 4.
.... STAllC/q 5

_101 .
6 • 8 10 12 • 14 16 18

Figure 3. Tidal variationin rate of potential energychangedue to

Lewis 257


,.30 I .... •'• '• I


10- ;'i :' •, '-.

6• • 1'0 1'2• 1• 1'6 1'8

Figure 4. Variation during a tidal period of the rate of increase in potential energy due to


Internal EnergyBalance

From differences in ½ at successivetime intervals, the rate of change of potential

energyanomaly,3t)/3t, was computed.The rotationalkineticenergydue to shearin
the velocity profile at each sampling time was also calculatedfrom the relation
1 h
P= 2'•'J'O
p(u- um)2
dz (1O)
Differencesbetweensuccessivevalues for g were used to computethe time rate of
changeof the kinetic energy,3[t/3t, associated
with currentshear. Figure 5 showsa
plot of 3[t/3t and 3•/3t during the tidal cycle at station4 in Billingham Reach.
Although a correlationbetweentheseparametersis not as evident in this plot as in
data from previousyears (Lewis et al., 1994), it doesappearthat the rates of change
were of similar magnitude,implying that thesepotential and kinetic energy changes
maintain the energy balance of the internal structure. The parameterIt includes
258 Bed GeneratedMixing

1o 1o
:o • ., '",,,"•

o,, ,,• .o
•-1o o

-15 I

6 8 10 12 14 16 18

Figure 5. Comparisonof the rate of increase in rotational kinetic energy with the rate of
decreasein potential energy as determined at station 4.

0.0 O. 1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8

x\ •, ,,,'

0.2-- -0.2

I--ø9-øø I
'' ..2• I
CITY -0.4
_.• ./ -?. •.o•.•o
o0.6- -0.6


. I

1.0 / i i i i i
-2.0 - 1.5 - 1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5


Figure 6. Comparisonof velocity profiles with profiles of the deviation from depth mean
density; station4,
Lewis 259

effect of velocity profile changes which are not attributable to changes in the
verticaldistributionof densityand, therefore,a goodcorrelationbetweenBg/Btand
B•/Bt would not be expected. For example,a changein the surfaceslopeover the
half hour interval would alter the velocity profile as the system adjusted the friction
loss to balancethe changein the driving force.
Figure 6 presentsan example of the density and velocity profile changesover a half-
hour interval; these profiles were determined at about half ebb at station 4. To
demonstratehow the density profile alters, the sigma-t values are given relative to
the depthmean density,sigma-tbeing definedas (p-1000) in MKS units. Although
the correspondingvelocity data were not preciseenoughto give a smoothprofile, it
can be seen that the changein the profile was most marked near the surface.

Mixing Efficiency

Generally, potential energy changein a water column is associatedwith mixing at

the pycnocline. This mixing may be induced by turbulencegeneratedat the bed or
by instabilitiesforming on the interface. Althoughit has been estimatedthat 90% of
the turbulentenergyis generatedin the lower 10% of the water column,the effect on
stratification dependson this energy being diffused or advected up into the vicinity
of the pycnocline(Bowden, 1983: p 239).
The rate of turbulent energy generationfrom the bed, Pb, during a tidal period was
computedusingequation(5). Figure 7a presentsthe observedvariation in the depth
mean density, expressedas sigma-t, and the depth mean current for all three stations.
It should be noted that flood currents were lower than those on the ebb at stations 3
and 4. This factor was the principalreasonfor the inequalityin the Pb values shown
in Figure 7b. In addition there is an inequality in the magnitudeof drag coefficients
in the Tees estuary, with greater values occurringon the ebb than the flood (Lewis
and Lewis, 1987), and this would was also taken into accountin deriving values for
Pb. For the flow conditionsof the 1990 survey, typical drag coefficients were
generally0.0045 with valuesup to 0.016 on the ebb tide.
Mixing efficiencies, e, were computedfrom the rates of increasein potential energy
due to mixing and the correspondingPbvalues using equation (4). Most of the
estimates of e were less than 0.1 but a few particularly high values were derived.
These correspondedto small values of Pb, as occurrednear times of slack water or at
station3 on the flood, and it was assumedthat the error associatedwith Pb was too
large for the estimatesof to be reliable. Therefore, in determiningmixing efficiency,
values greater than 0.15 and those correspondingto negative mixing rates were

Interfacial mixing in a shearflow is characterisedby the flux Richardsonnumber Rf.

Linden (1979) showed that Rf varies with an overall Richardson number in such a
way that Rf increasesup to a maximum value and then decreasesas the
260 Bed GeneratedMixing

number exceedsa critical value. To define the degreeof stability acrossthe density
interfacesin the Tees, a layer Richardsonnumber, Ri, was defined as

RiL= Apgd (11)

whereAp, Au are the densityand velocitydifferencesacrossa pycnoclineof depthd.
RiL hasa similardefinitionl•the overallRichardsonmmber •nployed byLinden(1979).




.... STAT• ß J

c• 5-

6 8• I
10 •
12 1•4. I
16 1•8





6 ; 1•0 1•2 1• 1•6 1•8

Figure7. (a) Tidal variation in the depth mean density, expressedas sigma-t, and the depth
mean current. (b) Correspondingplot of the tidal variation in the estimatedrate of generation
of turbulent energy from the bed at the three
Lewis 261

t -- STATION 3
.... STATION 4
E 0.5-

z 0.4--
o t•

L• 0.,3-

o 0.2-
? i '

• 0.0 .
6 8 10 12 14. 16 18


Figure 7 (continued).(a) Tidal variation in the depth mean density,expressedas sigma-t, and
the depth mean current. (b) Correspondingplot of the tidal variation in the estimatedrate of
generationof turbulentenergyfrom the bed at the threestations.

Figure 8 shows values for the mixing efficiency plotted against layer Richardson
number. It can be seen from this Figure that the efficiencies rise with increase in
Richardsonnumber. The increasein œwas relatively similar at stations3 and 4, but
a much shallowerrate of rise was computedfor station5. The initial rise in e with
RiL may be due to the increasingoccurrenceof instabilitieson the density interface
so that the mixing energy becomesless dependenton bed generatedturbulence. For
example,once the layer Richardsonnumberexceeds0.25, mixing may be aided by
Kelvin-Helmholtz shearinstability (Geyer and Farmer, 1989). It was suggestedby
Linden (1979) that the drop in Rf, and hencemixing efficiency, above a critical RiL
could be due to the stability becominghigh enough for internal waves to form and
take kinetic energy away without contributing to the mixing. This proposal is
Water (Dyer,1988).
For any given layer Richardsonnumber,the mixing efficienciesin Figure 8 appear
to reach a maximum value. The scatterof values below this limit is apparently due
to times at which the bed generatedenergy is much greater than that utilised in
mixing. It has been seenabove that raising the potentialenergyby mixing reduces
the degreeof shear;this reductionoccursat the bed and acrossthe densityinterface.
Thus mixing resultsin a negativefeedbackwhich limits the creation of turbulence
for promotingfurther breakdownof the pycnocline. This may explain the occurrence
of maximum efficiencies. It should be noted that this argument, originally outlined
by Rossbyand Montgomery(1935), takesno accountof the combinedeffect of shear
and the longitudinal density gradient in altering stability. When the
262 Bed GeneratedMixing


tu o.o6-

• 0.04-


10-2 10 •

Figure 8. Mixing efficiency plotted againstlayer Richardsonnumber. The curves correspond

to equation(15) with the parametervalues given in Table 1.

density gradient is appreciable, shear may enhancethe degree of stratification. In

such an instance,reductionin sheardue to mixing has the dual effect of lowering the
rate of turbulent energy generation at the interface and of reducing the rate of
stratification. This would result in the mixing efficiency reaching its limit value
more rapidly than at locationswhere the longitudinaldensitygradientis weak.

When the shear acts with the longitudinal density gradient to increasethe potential
energy anomaly, mixing has to exceed this deficit before feedback can reduce the
generationof turbulent energy by shear. Thus, the limit to mixing efficiency would
be reached at a higher energy usage by mixing than would be the case when the
longitudinal density gradient is small.

When the Ri L value was about 0.1 the contributionof interfacial effects to mixing
would be expected to be small; the mixing efficiencies were then typically about
0.004, a magnitudewhich is supportedby estimatesof œin the Celtic and Irish Seas
(Simpson and Bowers, 1981). If the highest observedefficiencies representthe
maxima, although the evidence is only tentative, then the correspondingRi L values
represent critical limits in the flow. The highest œ values correspondedto layer
Richardsonnumbersof about 1.0 and 10 at stations3, 4 and 5 respectively,and are
equivalentto interfacialFroudenumbersof 1.0 and 0.3. A critical Froudenumberof
1.0 would be expectedin two layer flow and a theoreticalvalue of 0.3 is predicted
for a continuouslystratifiedflow. Thus the highestefficienciesobservedmay reflect
the generally greater degree of stratification at stations 3 and 4 compared with
station5 (Figure
Lewis 263

Variationin eddycoefficients

It can be seenfrom equation(9) that at higher mixing efficiencies


so that, assumingPi/Pb is constant,the mixing efficiency becomesa measureof the

flux Richardson number.

By definition

Rf = Nz
KzRiL (13)

where Kz, Nz are coefficientsof eddy diffusivity and viscosity.

The form of the curve when Rf increaseswith RiL dependson the ratio of the eddy
diffusivity and viscositycoefficients;with increasedstability the transferof matter is
inhibited to a greater extent than momentum. Various expressionshave been
developedto quantifythisratio in estuaries(Dyer, 1988).

Typically, thesehave the form

Kz 1
= (14)
Nz (I+•RiL)n

It follows from equations(12), (13) and (14), that

e = (15)
where et = Pi/Pb.

The two curves shown in Figure 8 were derived from equation (15) using the
parametervaluesgiven in Table 1. The curvesapproximatelydefine the upperlimit
to the mixing efficienciesfor the combineddata from stations3 and 4, and for the
single set of data from station5. In selectingthe parametervalues, emphasiswas
put on the efficienciescorrespondingto the higherRiL values since thesewere less
likely to be influencedby energyderivedfrom the bed.
Figure 9 presentsplots of the Kz/Nz curvesas given by equation(14) using the
parametervalues from Table 1. For comparison,curvessuggestedby Munk and
Anderson(1948) and Bowden and Gilligan (1971) are also shown in the Figure. It
can be seen that the curve for stations 3 and 4 lies relatively close to the curve
by Munk andAnderson.The curvefor station5 impliesthat Kz/Nz
264 Bed GeneratedMixing





--- •UNK/ANOERSON • '•.


O.01 O. 1 1.0 10.0

Figure 9. Variation of K z/Nz with Ri L for the three stations. Curves derived by Munk and
Anderson(1948) and Bowden and Gilligan (1971) are plotted for comparison.

be higher than given by Munk and Anderson'sformula at a given layer Richardson

number and has some similarity with a curve derivedby Bowden and Gilligan for the
Narrows of the Mersey estuary(Dyer, 1988). As explainedabove, relatively high
mixing at the limit for a given Ri may arise when there is a strong gradient in
densityalong an estuary. At station5, the mean springtide gradientis about2.5 km
as compared with a gradient of about 0.6 km at stations3 and 4. Although the
density gradient in the Mersey Narrows is relatively similar to that at stations3 and
4, being typically about 0.5 km, the marked currentshearin the Mersey would have
favoureda higher level of mixing.

TABLE 1. Parametervaluesselectedfor equation(15)

Station n
3and4 0.2 2.0 1

5 0.03 0.5 1

Relativecontributionto mixing

The value for et given in Table 1 suggeststhat the rate of generationof turbulent
energy at the bed is about 5 times that at the interfaceat stations3 and 4, assuming
that energy generatedelsewherein the water column is negligible. Between
Lewis 265

4 and 5, the Tees estuary converges and the tidal current is appreciably
being0.5 m s-1 and0.8 m s-• at thetwo
positions. The tt value at station5 impliesthat the bed energyis generatedat a rate
which is some 30 times that at the interface, a finding which is consistentwith the
strong current at that location.

Figure 8 suggeststhat the maximum efficienciesfor stations3/4 and station 5 were

about0.1 and 0.05 respectively. It follows from the {x valuesand equation(12) that
the corresponding Rf valueswere 0.5 and 1.6. The former Rf value lies at the upper
limit of the quotedrange of 0.15 to 0.5 (Dyer, 1988). The latter value exceedsthe
maximum allowable limit for Rf of 1.0 but this may be due to the dominanceof bed

It can be seenfrom equations(6) and (7) that the fractionof the total mixing energy
which is derived from bed turbulenceis given by ek/e. Although ek could not be
determined with confidence from the data, the estimated value of 0.004 when Ril
was about0.1 was assumedon the groundsthat it is comparablewith determinations
in coastalwatersof similar stability. Figure 8 showsthat, when the layer Richardson
numberis about 0.1, e -- ek and nearly all the mixing energyis of bed origin at the
three stations. With increasein RiL the proportionof energyderivedfrom interfacial
mixing increasesrapidly at stations3 and 4 so that, when RiL is about 0.5, only
approximately10% of the mixing is due to bed generatedturbulence. However, at
station 5 the contributionfrom the bed does not decreaseto 10% of the mixing
energyuntil RiL approaches 5.0.


The analysisof density and velocity structuredata from the 1990 surveyof the Tees
estuary suggestedthat:

(a) The potential energy anomaly varied appreciablyduring the tidal period but
returnedto a similar value at successivehighwatersat each of the three stations.
Throughoutthe tidal period, the rate of potential energy increasedue to mixing
was of similar magnitudeto the rate of decreasein the rotationalkinetic energy
of the flow.

(b) The variation of the ratio Kz/Nz with Richardsonnumber approximatesto the
formula proposedby Munk and Anderson(1948), providedthat the tidal current
shearand the longitudinaldensity gradientare not large.
(c) The rate of generationof turbulent energy at the bed was about 5 times that at
the density interface in the central reach of the estuary; convergenceof the
estuary cross-sectionappearedto be responsiblefor this factor increasing to
about 30 times at a positionfurther
266 Bed GeneratedMixing

(d) The contributionof bed generatedenergy to the overall mixing decreasedwith

increasingRichardsonnumber. Assuming a mixing efficiency of 0.004 under
relatively well mixed conditions,it was found that when RiL approached0.5,
only about 10% of the energy was of bed origin. At the upstreamstationthe
currentwas strongerand RiL reachedabout 5.0 before the bed generatedenergy
made up only 10% of the total mixing energy.


Bowden, K.F. and Gilligan, R.M. Characteristic features of estuarine circulation as

representedin the Merseyestuary.Limnol. Oceanog.,16(3), 490-502., 1971
Bowden, K.F. PhysicalOceanographyof CoastalWaters. Ellis Hor•vood,Chichester.,1983.
Dyer, K.R. Tidally generatedestuarinemixing processes.In "Hydrodynamicsof Estuaries"
(Ed. Kjerfve)Chap. 4, 41-57., 1988.
Geyer, W.R. and Farmer, D.M. Tide-inducedvariation of the dynamicsof a salt wedge
estuary.J. PhysicalOceanography,19, 1060-1072, 1989.
Lewis, R.E. Transversevelocity and salinity variationsin the Tees estuary. Estuarine, Coastal
and ShelfScience8, 317-326, 1979.
Lewis, R.E. and Lewis, J.O. Shearstressvariationsin an estuary. Estuarine,Coastaland Shelf
Science 25, 621-635, 1987.
Lewis, R.E., Riddle, A.M. andLewis, J.O., Energyadjustmentin a partially stratifiedestuary.
Estuarine,Coastaland ShelfScience(In press),1994
Linden,P.F., Mixing in stratifiedfluids. Geophys.
Astrophys.Fluid Dynamics,13(3), 3-23, 1979.
Munk, W.H. andAnderson,E.R., Noteson a theoryof the thermocline.J. Marine Research7,
276-295, 1948.
Nunes Vaz, R.A., Lennon, G.W. and de Silva Samarasinghe,J.R., The negative role of
turbulencein estuarinemass transport.Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 28, 361-377,
Pingtee, R.D. and Griffiths, D.K., Tidal fronts on the shelf seas around the British Isles. J.
GeophysicalResearch, 83(C9), 4615-4622, 1978.
Rossby,C.G. and M.ontgomery,R.B. The layer of frictional influence in wind and ocean
currents.Papers PhysicalOceanographyMeteorology3(3), 1-101, 1935.
Simpson,J.H. and Bowers, D, Models of stratificationand frontal movementin shelf seas.
Deep Sea Research 28A (7), 727-738, 1981.
Simpson,J.H., The shelf sea fronts: implicationsof their existenceand behaviour. Phil. Trans.
Roy. Soc.,A302, 531-546, 1981.
Simpson,J.H., Brown, J., Matthews, J. and Allen, G., Tidal straining,density currentsand
stirring in the control of estuarinestratification. Estuaries, 13(2), 125-132.,

Short Salt Wedges and the Limit of No

Salt Wedge
J. B. Hinwood


The conditions for the exclusion of a salt wedge from an estuarine channel are
deducedby extrapolatingthe depth at the sea to zero. Since the flow in the upper
layer is critical at the sea, salt water will be excludedif the upstreamflow is critical.
Simple approximationsfor theseflows have been found to overestimatethe required
upstreamFroude number (Fo = 1). Additional factorsare included in the present
analysis, giving improved predictions (Fo z 0.85) when compared with data.
Extrapolation of the length of the salt wedge to zero should also give another
estimate of the conditions for exclusion. Keulegan's early experiments on the
dimensionsand dynamicsof the salt wedge had a profoundinfluence on all workers
in this area, and his empirical expressionfor the length of a wedge is still used. His
studieson the conditionsfor exclusionof a salt wedge from an estuaryare still the
most comprehensive,despite the small dimensionsof his apparatus,and hence low
Reynoldsnumbersin his experiments. The presentpaper reanalyseshis data for the
length of both short and long salt wedges and shows that they fit a version of the
Schijf and Schonfeld equation which includes the additional factors referred to
above. Extrapolationof this expressionresultedin Fo = 1.

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages267-277
Copyright1996by theAmericanGeophysical Union
268 Short Salt Wedges



Under conditions of low tidal energy, sea water may enter an estuary and form a
wedge-shapedlayer beneath the fresh water of the river, with little mixing between
the two layers. Under high river flows the length of the salt wedge in an estuaryis
reduced. Under sufficiently high flows the salt wedge will be flushed from an
estuary. Prediction of this limiting condition is of value in assessingriver flow
management practices, including the use of river water for agriculture, and in
predicting estuarine sedimentationpatterns since the upstreamtransportof sediment
in the salt wedge is an importantfactor. The form and dynamicsof the salt wedge
have been reviewed by a number of authors(including Ippen and Harleman, 1966;
Officer, 1976; Parthenaides, 1992), hence there is no need to review its
characteristics here.

The two main approachesto determinationof the limiting condition are firstly the
use of a critical Froude or bulk Richardsonnumber,and secondlythe extrapolationof
salt wedgesof finite lengthto the caseof zero length. Both approacheswere usedby
Keulegan(1957). Neither approachgave resultswhich exactly matchedKeulegan's
experimentaldata, despitethis, his work remainsthe most comprehensiveand useful
in the study of this limit. Keulegan'sdata were obtainedfrom experimentsin three
laboratorychannels,of widths 52, 113 and 229 min. Hence, the conclusionsusing
his data apply quantitativelyonly to laboratoryscaleflows but it is believed that the
conceptsdevelopedare applicableto prototypeestuaries.

Following a brief outline of the relevant one-dimensionalrelationships for salt

wedges,this paper attemptsto predict the conditionsfor exclusionof the salt wedge
from an estuary, first extrapolating to zero depth at the sea in section 2, then
extrapolating to zero salt wedge length in section 3. In the course of the latter
attempt, Keulegan'sdata are reexaminedand it is shownthat his short and long salt
edges fit the same law.

Critical FroudeNumberandDepthat theSea

with reference to Figure 1 and assumingthat U2 << U1, the densimetric Froude
numberfor the upper layer may be written as

Hinwood 269

••.•.• • U1 • I RIVER
T Do
•U2 d

[4 Lw •1
Figure 1. Definition of symbols

For an estuaryof constantrectangularsection,or by an appropriatedefinition of an

equivalent section, F1 may be written in terms of the upstreamdensimetricFroude
number, Fo, where

I Ap
Fø= Do
q g•D o
P (2)

and q is the river dischargeper unit breadth, Ap is the difference between the
densities of river water and sea water, p is the density of river water, and the
variation of D with x has been neglected.
From (1) and (2),

)3/2 (3)

Farmer (1951) found by experimentthat the value of F 1 at the sea was very close to
unity. $chijf and $chonfeld(1953) obtainedthis result theoretically. This result may
be used to predict the depth of the salt wedge at the sea:


As shownin his figure, reproducedas Figure 2, Keulegan's(1957) experimentsgave

a value close to, but systematicallydifferent to one; Hinwood (1964) obtained
similar resultsfor a salt wedge in a steppedchannel. The experimentsof Stommel
and Farmer (1952), also on Figure 2, were for stratified flow through a constricted
entranceto a completelymixed basin,and again differed from one. The discrepancy
between experimentand theory makes the extrapolationto zero depth at the sea
270 Short Salt Wedges


r• Keulegan + Keulegan • Stommel & Farmer

Fi= I F1 =O, 85

Figure 2. Depth of fresh water at the sea - Experimentsof Keulegan(1957) and Stommel and
Farmer (1952).

For the case of a moving lower layer the critical conditionhas been shown to be:

F12 + F22 = 1 (5)

Arita and Jirka (1987b) also considereda moving lower layer using a schematic
velocity profile in a two layer numerical model. They used a previous study to
estimate the flow in the lower layer, which was a function of the Reynolds number.
They predictedthat the critical value of F1 was about 0.95 for high Reynoldsnumber
flows, falling to 0.7 for the low valuesin small scalemodel studies.

Lengthof theSalt Wedge

The conditions for exclusion of salt water may be obtained by extrapolating the
length of the salt wedge to zero. Keulegan (1952) obtainedthe following expression
for the length of salt wedgesin his laboratoryflume:

Lw = AoRdFo
-5/2 (6)

Hinwood 271

and Ao is a constant. Since Keulegan (1957) did not deliberately vary Do or v, Rd

could be replacedby Ap/p. This resultwas obtainedempiricallyfrom a log-log plot
of his data. It was not extrapolatedto zero length,as it would clearly give the absurd
result that Fo is infinite.

Improved expressionsfor the length of the salt wedge may be obtained from the
interfaceprofile equationsof Farmer and Morgan (1952) and Schijf and Schonfeld
(1953); these were extendedand tested againstdata by Parthenaideset al. (1975).
Officer (1976) derived an expressionsimilar to that of Schijf and Schonfeld,and
stated that there was little difference in the predictions of his and the first two
Officer assumeduniform velocity in the upper layer, no entrainment across the
interface, that the lower layer has velocities which are very much smaller than the
upper layer velocities and has a constant eddy viscosity, and that the interfacial
friction is proportionalto the squareof the local velocityin the upperlayer. Officer's
equation may be written as

Lw 1
do 16 do 19
=3kF0 + •oo]405
where k is a constantinterfacial friction factor. Officer did not test his equation
againstdata, and none of the aboveauthorsconsideredthe caseof zero length. If Lw
is set equal to zero, equation(7) shows,unhelpfully,that do is zero or Fo is infinite.
Each of theseauthorsusedequation(4) in the derivationof their equations.
While the other authors cited above assumedin their analytical equations that the
interfacial shear was constant for each wedge, Officer permitted it to vary. The
literature on interfacial shear is large and the reader is referred to the reviews by
Arita and Jirka (1987a) and Parthenaides(1992). No one expressionfor the form of
the dependenceof interfacial shear on the parameters of the flow has become
universally accepted, although each of the reviews just mentioned provide similar
by data,showing
a dependence
on ReFo2 and
either Fo or Ap/p, where Re is a Reynoldsnumber.

Reanalysisof Salt WedgeDepthat the Sea

Two factors which have been omitted from the above analysesof the critical Froude
number will now be considered. They are the non-uniformity of the velocity profiles
and the entrainment from the lower layer into the upper layer. The effects of
entrainmenton short salt wedgeswill be to reducethe densitydifferencebetween the
layers, and to cause a small net upstreamvelocity in the lower layer. When added
to the small shear- and pressure-drivenrecirculating flow in the lower layer, the
lower layer velocity may ceaseto be
272 Short Salt Wedges

If the flow in the upper layer is non-uniform,the kinetic energyper unit massin the
U12rZl/2, whereU1 is nowthedepth-averaged
velocityin the
upper layer, and 1 is the kinetic energycorrectionfactor having a value a little less
than unity. If F1 is regardedas the squareroot of the ratio of the kinetic energy to
the gravitationalpotentialenergyof the upperlayer, F1 may be rewrittenfor the case
of non-uniform velocity in the upper layer as


=I A@ g--(D-d)
@ (8)
A similar expressionmay be written for F2, but the non-uniformityis generallymore
marked in the lower layer and {x2may be appreciablymore than unity.

To consider the effect of entrainment across the interface, let the flow entrained into
the upperlayer over the whole lengthof the salt wedgebe eq. Then the total flow in
the upperlayer at the seais (l+e)q. The densityin the upperlayer will be increased
by entrainment,resultingin a reductionof the density differencebetweenthe layers
at the sea to the new value Ap/(l+e). Hence, again neglectingthe variation of D
with x, the densimetricFroude number in the upper layer at the sea becomes

q(l+e)/(Dø-dø) (9)
AO (Do_do)
In the lower layer, the flow at the sea to provide the entrainedfluid is eq, hence, at
the sea,

eq/dø (10)
=I g do

where the symbolsare as above, with @ taken as the densityof river water to the
accuracyof the Boussinesqapproximation.

By including the kinetic energy correction,the net flow in the lower layer and the
reductionof the densitydifference,equation(5) becomes:

= 1
Hinwood 273



0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
Fo UpstreamDensimetricFroude No.

+ 1-Fo**.667 • .. al=a,?.=0.1 x al,a2. iarninar

• e=0.1 x e=O.l,larninar

Figure 3. Computeddepth of salt water at the sea

By rearrangingand solvingiterativelyfor do/Do the following expressionis obtained:

= 1-Fo
Sample solutionsof this equation are shown in Figure 3. In the figure the filled
symbolsgive the result for uniform flow in the upper layer with no entrainment. The
two lines closestto this are also for no entrainment,the upper with coefficients
•z2 appropriateto turbulent flow, the lower for laminar flow. The figure shows that
the effect of including the kinetic energy correctionfactor is to reduce the depth at
the sea for large values of Fo.

The remaining two curveshave entrainmentof 10% - quite a realistic value for a
long salt wedgebut too high for a very shortwedge. The effect on the critical Froude
number is marked and arises mainly from the change in momentum and kinetic
energy fluxes rather than from the reductionin the densitydifference.

These calculationsshow that the use of Fo = 1 as the limiting condition is likely to

overestimatethe flow required to prevent salt
274 Short Salt Wedges

Reanalysisof SaltWedgeLength

Consideringnow the method of extrapolatingthe salt wedge length to zero, it was

shownabove that neither Keulegan'sequation(6), nor Officer'sequation(7) for the
length of the salt wedge could be used to predict the limiting case. Expressions
based the equation of Schijf and Schonfeldgenerally assumethat equation (4)
applies, and hence cannotprovide a more accurateresult.
Keulegan attempted to obtain such an expression by performing a series of
experimentsin which he measuredthe dimensionsof 7 sequences of salt wedges. He
held Do and Ap/p constantin each sequence,while varying the river flow and hence
varying the length of the wedge. He then plotted the wedge length againstFo on a
linear plot, redrawn here as Figure 4. He extrapolatedgraphicallyon this figure to
obtain the criterion Fo = 0.75. For the data of Figure 4, this procedureis obviously
prone to error, but the data may be used by extrapolating with the aid of a
dynamicallybasedequationfor the salt wedge length which fits Keulegan'sdata for
both short and long salt wedges.
By substitutingfrom equation(12) into equation(7), the lengthof a salt wedgemay
be found with the effects of entrainment and non-uniform velocities included. In
Figures 5 and 6 the lengthof the salt wedge has been found by this calculationand
has been fitted to the salt wedge length data obtainedby Keulegan, for the long and
shortwedgesrespectively. For both setsof datathe fit is very good.




o.o ' 0:2 0:4 0'.6 o18
UpstreamFroudeNumber 170

' 0.005 : 0.01 -' 0.021

= 0.039 x 0.08 ' 0.116

Figure 4. Lengthof shortsaltwedges(Keulegan


Ups[reamFroudeNumber Fo

0.011,0.147 I 0.020 ,• 0.039

0.077 •: 0.113 Prediction

5. Length
of saltwedges;
of Keulegan

KeuleganShort i¾edges-Friction
i t J i iiiii I [ 'i i'i iiiii • i i ill J ]ii l
ß • , : , 'Ill!

: 'iiili i•il iii

,,I [ I:•!!
i [........... i:l
' , :!.• lii:l 0.1 1


6. Length
for shortsaltwedgesfromKeulegan
276 Short Salt Wedges

In orderto fit the predictionto the data,the interfacialfrictionfactor,k, hasbeen

chosen by eyeto bestfit thedata. Thek valuesusedto obtainFigure6 areplotted
in Figure7. It maybe seenthatk variesconsistently withAp/p, providingsome
measureof confidencein the fitting of k. It is not within the scopeof thispaperto
attemptto derivea generally
expression for k; referto Arita andJirka
(1987a)or DermissisandParthenaides
(1983). It is merelynotedthatfor the small
flumetestsof Keulegan,fittedto equations
in the fashiondescribed
above,the slope
of theregression
linefork is (Ap/p)-ø'4butk doesnotvarydirectly
for eachvalueof densitydifference.Keulegan
in fact
presentedhis resultsshowinga dependence on the Reynoldsnumber,Re, a
conFumed andgreatlyextended
by AritaandJirka(1987b).
Inspection of equations (7) and(12) showsimmediately thatto first orderin the
smallquantifies e, tZ1-1,
ix2-1,theof resultof setting
thelengthof thesaltwedgeto
zerowill be equation(4), andhenceFo= 1 in thelimitingcase. To second orderin
thesesmallquantities a hostof termsis obtained makingnumericalevaluation the
onlyrealisticprocedure in thegeneralcase. However,for a wedgeof nearlyzero
lengthit is difficultto seehoweitherentrainment or non-uniformflow in thelower
layercanhavean effect. After eliminating thoseterms,againequation (4) is

Thusthe secondapproach suggestedin theIntroductionhasconfirmed theimproved

obtainedin theprevioussection,producingan excellentfit to the
data,but hasnot provideda secondestimate of the conditions
for exclusionof the
salt wedge.

• 40


bY/Do Predic[ed

0.005,0.116 r• 0.01 '• 0.021

0.039 X 0.08 Agreement

Figure7. Interfacialfrictionfactork for datain Figure

Hinwood 277


It has been shown that in a salt wedge the flow at the sea in the upper layer is
critical. Salt water will be excludedwhen the calculatedupstreamFroudenumberis

The effect of non-uniform velocity profiles and entrainmentinto the upper layer
reducethe critical value of the upstreamFroude number,Fo, as previouslyshownby
Arita and Jirka. For exclusionof saltwaterFo is reducedfrom 1.0 for uniformflow to
about0.85 for small laboratoryexperimentsand about0.9 for high Reynoldsnumber
flows. The depths of salt water at the sea, calculated with these corrections,
adequatelymatch the laboratorydata of Keulegan.
Both the shortand long salt wedgedata of Keuleganare well fitted by a relationship
due to Officer. The fit is improvedby the inclusionof allowancefor the non-uniform
velocity profiles, confuming the calculationof the limiting upstreamFroude number.


Arita, M. and G.H. Jirka, Two-layer model of saline wedge I: Entrainment and interfacial
friction, J. Hydr. Eng., 113, 1229-47, 1987a.
Arita, M. andG.H. Jirka,Two-layermodelof salinewedgeII: Predictionof meanproperties,J.
Hydr. Eng., 113, 1249-63, 1987b.
Dermissis,V. and E. Parthenaides, Interfacialresistancein stratifiedflows, J. Waterway,Port
CoastalEng., 110, 231-250, 1983.
Farmer, H.G. An experimentalstudyof salt wedges,Reference51-99, Woods Hole Oceanog.
Inst., 1951.
Farmer,H.G. & G.W. Morgan,The saltwedge,Proc.3rd. Conf.CoastalEng.,CambridgeMass.,
54-64, 1952.
Hinwood, J.B. Estuarine salt wedges:Determiningtheir shape and size, Dock & Harbour
Authority (London),65: 79-83, 1964.
Ippen, A.T. andD.R.F. Harleman,Estuaryand CoastlineHydrodynamics,McGraw-Hill, ch. 11-
Keulegan,G.H. Form characteristicsof arrestedsaline wedges, 11th ProgressRept. on Model
Lawsfor Density Currents,U.S. National Bureauof Standards,Washington,1957.
Officer, C.B. PhysicalOceanographyof Estuaries,JohnWiley & Sons,ch.4, 1976.
Parthenaides,E., V. Dermissisand A.J. Mehta, On the shape and interfacial resistanceof
arrestedsalinewedges,Proc. 16th Congr.Intl Assoc.Hydr.Res., 1,157-164, 1975.
Parthenaides,E. Stratified flow, salinity intrusion,and transportprocesses,in Handbookof
Coastaland OceanEngineering,editedby J.B. Herbich,1992, ch.ll of vol.3, Gulf Publishing
Co., 1992.
Schijf, J.B. & J.C. Schonfeld, Theoreticalconsiderationson the motion of salt and fresh water,
Proc. 5th. Cong.Intl Assoc.for Hydr. Res.,Minnesota,321-333, 1953.
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A Spring-NeapFlushingBox Model
Z. Z. Ibrahim


Simplebox modelsare usefulin presenting anddeveloping conceptsof flushingand

mixing in an estuary. Most box modelsconsideronly completemixing and a mean
tide conditionfor simplicity. However,time variablefactorssuchas the spring-neap
tide transition, can be important in determiningthe flushing characteristics. A
simple box model is presentedhere which takes into account the variation in the
tidal prismover the spring-neaptide transition.The modelconsidersthe flushingof
a pollutantthroughthe box if the pollutantinput is a singlepulse (one-shot)or if the
input is continuous. In additionincompletemixing is allowed for by linking tidal
range to mixing extent.


Simpleestuarinebox modelsare usefulfor developingand explainingconceptsof

mixing as well as for quickly assessingthe flushing capability of an estuary. In a
review of box models, Officer (1979a) concludedthat althoughthesemodels were
grosssimplificationsof estuarinehydrodynamicsthey could be applied to estuaries
where horizontal net circulation exchangesdominatedhorizontal non-advective
exchanges. The simplestof the box modelsis the tidal prism model. In this model
the amount of water availablefor flushingis the tidal prism, defined as the volume
of water in the estuarybetweenlow andhigh tide. The flushingrate, in tidal cycles,
is then given by the ratio of the total estuaryvolumeat high tide to the tidal prism
volume. In 1950, Ketchurn(1951a, b) proposedthat the tidal prismmodelshouldbe
modified to accountfor incompletelongitudinalmixing and for oscillatoryflow in

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages278-290
Copyright1996by theAmericanGeophysical Union
A Spring-Neap Flushing Box Model 279

the estuary. This modification took the form of segmentationof the tidal prism
model. Further modifications were made by Dyer and Taylor (1973) and Wood
(1979) to make the model internally consistentand to allow for dispersionbetween
the segments. These modificationsto the tidal prism model, however, do not address
the effects of stratificationand bottom densitycurrentson mixing (Rawn, 1951) nor
do they incorporatethe effects of time variable factors. The importanceof the latter
was also noted by Officer (1979a) who recognizedthat the major insights into
understanding estuarine behaviour would be through the correct analytical and
numerica178-ors,such as the spring to neap tide transition, which appear as
determingfactors in estuarinebehaviour.
The variation in tidal range over the spring to neap tide transition can have
considerableeffect on estuary behaviour (Allen et al., 1980; Milliman et al., 1984;
Uncleset al., 1985). The mixing of waters,salinitystructure,sedimenttransportand
flushing of chemical constituentsvary with the volume of sea water entering the
estuaryat differenttidal ranges. However, the changesin the estuaryover the spring
to neap tide transitionis seldomconsideredexcept in complexnumerical models. In
these complex models, the primary focus is also on the mean conditions or net
transport over the spring to neap tide transition. We should, however, be able to
consider in a simple manner, if there is a difference in flushing if a chemical
constituentis introducedat a spring or a neap tide or at sometimeinbetween. We
should also be able to considerthe effect of incompletemixing. This would be of
interest if we need to consider the timing of the dischargeof a pollutant into the
estuary. It would be useful to be able to considerthesetemporalchangesusing only
a simple model.
It is the purposeof this paper to investigatethe time varying effect of the spring to
neap tide transitionon the flushingof an estuaryusingonly a simplebox model. The
variations due to a one-shotinput and to a continuousinput of pollutant, as well as
complete and incomplete mixing, over the spring to neap tide transition are
considered. The model illustratesthe differencein flushingrates and, when extent of
mixing is included,also pointsto differencesin pollutantconcentrationdependingon
increasing (neap-spring tide transition) or decreasing(spring-neap tide transition)
tidal range in the estuary.

The Box Model

A simple box model is used (Figure 1) following that of Ibrahim (1989). It is

assumedthat the estuarymay be modeledby a closedbox with a net fiver discharge
volumepertidalcycleof Q m3' Thevolume
of waterwithintheestuary
is givenby
P m3. Superscripts
denotehigh(H) andlow (L) tideconditions
denote the tide cycle (n) occuring. There is no egressof mass from within the box
throughthe upstreamboundary. Completemixing at high water is assumedand the
fiver dischargevolume entersthe box only at low water. The fiver dischargevolume
per tidal cycle is small comparedto the estuary volume, P. In this model we also
assumesteadyfiver dischargeinto and out of the
280 Ibrahim


P • p: pH_pL

.... Low water

p•Q • pL river discharge

1. Thefillingboxmodel
(pL,pH _ Prismvolume
low (L)and high (H) tide respectively' P - Prism volume; Q - River dischargeover a tidal
cycle of 12.5 hours.)

The input of a pollutant into the upstream end of the box may be consideredto be
one of two cases' a one-shot input or a continuous input. Within the box the
following changeswould occur over a tidal cycle. At tidal cycle n, a discretemass
MLnof pollutant
at lowwaterfromtheupstream
end. If mixingis
CHn, isgivenby
CH = MHn/pHn (1)


MHn= M Ln (2)

as there is no loss of pollutant mass through the upstreamboundary. At ebb the

estuary box suffers a loss of pollutant mass due to discharge of the tidal prism
volume(pHn_pLn). Thustheremaining
massin theboxat thenewlow
watervolume,pLn+l,is givenby

MLn+I= pLn+iCHn (3)

However, there is also a loss of volume equivalent to the river discharge volume
over a tidal cycle, Q. Thus, the resultantmassin the estuarybox is

MLni = (PLni - Q)cHn (4)

For a one-shot input of pollutant in tidal cycle n, at the next high water the new
A Spring-Neap Flushing Box Model 281

= n (5)

Fora continuous
inputofMLn for eachtidalcycle,at thenexthighwater
(CHn+ 1)isgivenby

Q)CHn +MLN (6)
The percentagereduction or decay in mass of a pollutant at any tidal cycle, j,
comparedto that massinitially introducedat the first tidal cycle, n, may therefore
be calculated.

%= MLjx100
ML (7)

The originalmodel was basedon the physicalconditionsof the high mesotidalKlang

River estuary,Malaysia. The tides in this estuaryresult in considerablevariation in
salinity stratificationbetween neap and spring tides. This lead to the consideration
of tidal range influence on mixing extent which is presentedbelow. The typical
tides and volumeratiosfor that estuaryare usedfor the model applicationhere. The
tidesusedare semi-diurnalwith springtidal rangesof approximately4.3 m and neap
tidal ranges of approximately 1.2 m. This model is applied to an estuary X of
rectangularcross-sectionwith dimensionsof 7 m depth (at 0 m water level), 450 m
widthand10 km length.Theriverdischarge
volumeusedis 1.35x 106m3 for a 12.5
hour tide cycle. Thus the residencetime of the river dischargeis long, greaterthan
23 tidal cyclesor approximately12 days.
The model resultspresentedare for the changein pollutant mass and concentration
over two conditionsof tide transition: the change from large to small tidal range
(spring-neaptide transition)and the changefrom small to large tidal range (neap-
springtide transition). Thesetwo conditionsgive, respectively,changesof strongto
weak tidal stirring and weak to strong tidal stirring. Complete and incomplete
mixing are consideredfor these two cases.



The resultsof a seriesof calculationsfor pollutant massand concentrationare shown

in Figure 2 for a one-shotinput of massat spring tide and at neap tide. The rate of
reductionfrom the original mass (Table 1, Column a) was much faster during the
springfides than during the neap tides. About 36% of pollutantmasswas lost in

Box Model 1--Shot Input

Complete Mlxlng

go springI
/i increasing
/1 /i
neap I• decreasing
input ut input ut








0 iii lillll'l'111111111111111111111111111111111ill[lllllllJllllllllllllllllllll
111iii111illll i1'11




120 -





iii1111111111 iiiliiiiiiiiii1111 ii11111111111111111 i111111111111111t111' iiiiiilllllllllllllllilllllllll

C. spring

ß4. --




2. Thepredicted
fora one-shot
A Spring-NeapFlushingBox Model 283

first springtide as opposedto only 14% pollutantmasslost during the first neap tide.
The reductionto less than 25% of the original massoccursat the sixth tidal cycle for
neap tides and at the third tidal cycle for spring tides. The data demonstratesa
reduced flushing and dilution ability of the estuaryin the neap-springtide transition
comparedto the spring-neaptide transitiondue to the reducedamountof tidal prism
volume available for mixing at neaps. This differencebecomeslessapparentwith time.


For the case of continuousinput of pollutant, the mass of pollutant within the box
increases(Figure 3) until a stable state is reached. The final mass within the box
oscillatesfrom 500% to 250% of the massof the first pollutant input. The maximum
amount of mass within the box occurs just after neap tides while the minimum
amountof massin the box occursjust after springtides. This also supportsthe result
of the one-shot input model that flushing ability reduces during small tidal ranges
and increasesduring large tidal ranges.


ParameterizingMixing with Tidal range

The major weakness of this model is in the assumptionof complete mixing. We

may, however, compensatefor this assumptionby parameterizing a mixing factor,
m, as a function of the tidal range. For example, we may chosean arbritrary linear
relationship such that

m=aR+b (8)

where m - mixing factor,

R - tidal range,
a, b - constants,

giving increasedmixing with increasingtidal range. A baselinemixing due to the

river flow is allowed for by the constantb. When m=l, mixing is complete(100%)
and when m=0, no mixing occurs. For the tide conditionsusedhere, the constantsa
and b may be selectedto give a range of mixing factors. The extent of the salinity
stratification within the estuary at various tidal ranges, for example, may be used to
set limits to this expression. We select a mixing factor due to the river flow only,
with no tide, of 0.05 or 5% mixing. Therefore,if we selecta mixing extent of 90%
for a maximum expectedtidal range of 5 m we may calculatethe constanta to be
0.17. In this exercise a linear function is selected, but any non-linear function of
tidal range may serve the purposeas
284 Ibrahim

Box Model Continuous Input:

Complete Mixing
1 -

0.9 -

0.8 -

0.7 -

0.6 -



0.3 -

0.2 -

o. 1 -

0 i iiiii1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111
1.1 - maximum
b, ß , •"corice
1 -

0.9 -

0.8 -

0.7 -

0.6 -

0.5 -




0 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••L•••••
Go spring


Figure3. The predictedvariationin pollutant(a) massand(b) concentration

for a continuous
inputof massoverthe (c) spring-neaptide transition.Mixing is
A Spring-NeapFlushingBox Model 285

We assume
at low waterasML, onlymixesinto
the water column at a rate dictatedby m. The portion (l-m) of pollutantmasswhich
does not mix into the water column resides within the box and is available for future
mixing. This situationcan be comparedto pollutantswhich are associatedwith and
partitionedinto suspendedsediments. As mixing reduces,the longer residencetime
of water within the estuarymay allow the pollutantsto be taken up or partitioned
onto sediments. As mixing increases,with tidal rangeand velocity, thesesediments
can be suspendedand the pollutantsreleasedinto the water column. Thus, we may
calculatethe concentrationat high water for a tidal range, R, with a mixing factor,
m, as

CHn-1= (MLn-1)mn-1 (9)


At low water, after dischargeof the volumeof river input,the concentration


CL (PLn _ Q) CHn-1
_ (lO)
n- pLn


The resultsfor the box model with the mixing factorare illustratedin Figure 4 for the
sametidal conditionsas before. The spring-neaptide transitionshowsonly a slight
variationfrom the completemixing model. The neap-springtide transition,however,
is different. Note that the first tidal cycle reducesthe initial massby only 3.2% as
opposedto 14.3% (Table 1, Column b) when completemixing occursand that the
drop to lessthan 50% of originalmassoccursafter 7 fidesinsteadof 4.


What is interesting,though,is the patternof the variation in massand concentration

(Figure 5) when the input of pollutantis continuous. The massand concentrationof
pollutant at any one tidal cycle is greaterthan for the caseof completemixing. As
for the complete mixing case the minimum concentrationoccurredjust after neap,
when the mixing factor was low. At springtidal ranges,althoughthe mixing factor
was larger and more of the pollutant is present in the water column, the larger
volume of water act as a diluent. At intermediate tides, however, the condition
dependson whether tidal range is increasingor decreasing.
Concentrationsincreaseto a maximum during increasingtidal range. It should be
noted also that maximum concentrationsoccur at intermediate tidal ranges
286 Ibrahim

TABLE 1. Decay in pollutantmassand concentrationof a one-shotinput over the

spring-neapand neap-springtide transitionfor (a) completemixing and (b) when a
mixing factor (m) is applied.
(a) (b)
Complete Mixing Iracomplete Mixing
m = 0.17R+0.05
Tidal Tidal Mass Mass Concen- Mass Mass Concen- Input
cycle range % tration % tration condition

R original original
1 43 10000.0 100.0 183.7 10000.0 100.0 143.4 Spring-
2 42 6033.1 60.3 113.6 6901.8 69.0 99.3 neap tide
3 43 3834.6 38.3 4980.3 49.8 71.4 input
4 4.1 2313.4 23.1 43.9 3437.3 34.4 48.8
5 4.0 1502.7 15.0 28.0 2537.5 25.4 34.6
6 3.9 934.5 93 17.,9 1837.0 18.4 25.1
7 3.8 620.3 6.2 11.7 1396.7 14.0 18.3
8 3.6 399.5 4.0 7.7 1050.7 10.5 13.4
9 3A 274.4 2.7 53 832.9 83 10.0
10 33 182.2 1.8 3.6 657.1 6.6 7.9
11 3.1 127.4 13 25 536.3 5.4 6.1
12 2.7 92.4 0.9 1.8 451.4 45 4.6
13 23 68.5 0.7 1.4 391.9 3.9 35
14 1.8 54.7 05 1.1 357.0 3.6 2.6
15 1.6 44.5 0.4 0.9 333.5 33 2.2
16 1.0 38.3 0.4 0.8 318.4 3.2 15
17 15 32.8 03 0.7 308.4 3.1 1.9
18 15 27.1 03 0.6 291.9 2.9 1.8
19 23 21.7 0.2 0.4 274.4 2.7 2.4
20 23 16.3 0.2 03 244.1 2.4 2.2
21 3.1 12.2 0.1 0.2 216.7 2.2 2.4

1 1.0 10000.0 100.0 211.6 10000.0 100.0 46.6 Neap-

2 15 8571.4 85.7 176.4 9685.7 96.9 60.8 spring
3 15 7063.5 70.6 146.7 9166.0 91.7 58.1 tide
4 23 5677.2 56.8 112.6 8617.3 86.2 75.4
5 23 4257.9 42.6 86.0 7667.3 76.7 68.3
6 3.1 3174.1 31.7 60.8 6806.6 68.1 75.2
7 3.1 2189.0 21.9 42.7 5587.7 55.9 62.8
8 3.8 1497.7 15.0 28.0 4569.6 45.7 59.4
9 3.6 969.1 9.7 18.6 3447.1 34.5 43.7
10 4.2 634.9 6.3 11.7 2660.2 26.6 37.3
11 4.0 388.3 3.9 7.4 1870.8 18.7 25.9
12 43 248.9 25 4.6 1380.5 13.8 19.8
13 4_2 150.2 15 2.8 952.8 95 13.7
14 43 95.4 1.0 1.8 687.5 6.9 9.9
15 4.1 57.6 0.6 1.1 474.5 4.7 6.7
16 4.0 37.4 0.4 0.7 350.3 35 4.8
17 3.9 23.3 0.2 0.4 253.6 25 35
18 3.8 15.4 0.2 03 192.8 1.9 25
19 3.6 9.9 0.1 0.2 145.0 1.4 1.9
20 3A 6.8 0.1 115.0 1.1 1.4
21 33 45 0.0 0.9 90.7 0.9 1.1
A Spring-Neap
FlushingBox Model 287

Box Model 1-Shot Input

Mixing Facto,-, m-O.17R+O.05





140 -


o 120 -

• •oo -




0 ;liilllllllll IIIIilllllllllllllllllllllllilllllllllll Illlilt Illllllllll IIIIIllll'111ll

Cß spring


o Illl ,1111lllilllli,111111 III ........ IIII1,1 ....... I ......

'11 oh., C:,,c le

4. Thepredicted
in pollutant
(a) massand(b) concentration
for a one-shot
a mixing
(m)is applied.
mixingfactoris givenbym = 0.017R+0.05,
R = tidal
288 Ibrahim

Box Model Continuous Input

I•Ixlng Factor, m-O.17R+O.05




e• o
•' 0.•




0 ii

b. 1.1 maximum

1 - • concentrations ß

0.9 -

0.8 -

0.7 -


• 2 o.s -
0 v

0.3 --

0.2 --

O.1 -

ii 11111111111111111111'1111111111111111111111111111111111 i i ii11111111111111111111111111111


• -


o ,,,,,,! ,,,,,,,,, .......... ,,,,,,,,,,,,,•,,,,,,,,,, .... , ..... ,,,,,,,,•,,,,,,,, ..... ,,,,,,

Figure 5. The predictedvariationin pollutant(a) massand (b) concentrationfor a continuous

input of mass over the (c) spring-neaptide transitionwhen a mixing factor (m) is applied. The
mixing factor is given by m = 0.017R+0.05, where R = tidal
A Spring-NeapFlushingBox Model 289

than at small tidal ranges. During decreasingtidal range the concentrationis fairly
stable. This difference in behaviour may be explained by the disparity between
mixing rate change and dilution due to tidal prism volume rate change. Mixing
increasesat a rate greater than dilution by increasingvolume of water, thus, the
concentrationof the pollutant increases. For the spring-neaptide transition, the
disparity between mixing and dilution acts to arrest the decreasein concentration
and a 'plateau'stage is achieved.

Discussion and Conclusion

This simple box model illustrates clearly the role of tidal range in partially
controlling the flushing of pollutants through an estuary. In estuarieswhere the
changesin tidal mixing and tidal volume at different tidal ranges are great, the
variation of tidal range and the direction of variation, from spring to neap and from
neap to springresultsin different patternsof pollutant concentrationsand massloss.

The model presentedhere is only of a single box representingthe whole estuary. It

may be argued,as Ketchurn(1951a, b) had, that completelongitudinalor horizontal
mixing is difficult to achieve, especiallyin many ria-type estuariesof great width,
and that segmentationshouldbe carriedout. This certainly is a valid arguementand
should be the next step in the developmentof this model. The importance of this
model is in the incorporationof temporalvariationsin the tide and of incompleteness
of mixing. The resultsof this indicatesthat the spring-neaptide transitionis different
from the neap-springtide transition. It demonstratesthat the prevalent assumptionof
many estuarineinvestigatorsthat it is sufficient to measureat neap and at spring or
at an 'average'tide may not be valid.

In addition, Officer (1979b) noted that in many studies of estuarine chemistry or

biology, measurementsare made at different locationswithin the estuaryat different
statesof the tide and often only of surfacesamples. Invariably the tide state during
samplingis not revealed as it is regardedto be an unimportantfactor. The reason
behind this approach has been the belief that salinity could be used as a direct
indicatorof mixing of the chemicalcomponentswithin the estuaryand that mixing is
complete vertically. This belief may be sufficient for conservative chemical
componentswhich do not react with any material in the estuary,but not for the many
non-conservativecomponents. The simple approach taken here, and the results,
show clearly the type of variation which may occur when there is imcomplete

In light of this, therefore,it must be recognizedthat to avoid erroneousconclusions

being drawn, the measurement of pollutants and other chemical or biological
components,and the analysisof suchdata, need to be related to a known tide time-
290 Ibrahim

Acknowledgements to Professor David A. Huntley for comments on model

assumptionsand two referees for their comments. Financial supportand facilities
was providedby the Departmentof EnvironmentalSciencesand Universiti Pertanian
Malaysia thoughprojectcodeno. 4-07-05-041.


Allen, G.P., J.C. Salomon,P. Bassoullet,Y. Du Penhoatand C. De Grandpre.Effects of tides

on mixing and suspendedsedimenttransporton macrotidalestuaries.SedimentaryGeology
26: 69-90, 1980.
Dyer, K.K. and P.A. Taylor. A simplesegmentedprism model of tidal mixing in well mixed
estuaries. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 1:411-418, 1973.
Ibrahim,Z.Z. An integratedapproachto the investigationof an equatorialestuary:The Klang
River estuary,Malaysia. PhD thesis.University of Southampton,U.K, 1989.
Ketchurn,B.H. The exchangesof fresh and salt waters in tidal estuaries.Journal of Marine
Research 10:18-38, 1951a.
Ketchum,B.H. The flushingof tidal estuaries.Sewageand Industrial Wastes23:198-208, 1951b.
Milliman, J.D., Y. Hsueh,D.-X. Hu, D.J. Pashinski,H.-t. $hen,Z.-s. Yang and P. Hacker.Tidal
phase control of sedimentdischargefrom the Yangtze River. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf
Science 19: 119-128, 1984.
Officer, C.B. Box modelsrevisited.Workshopon Wetlands and EstuarineProcessesand Water
Quality Modelling. June 18-20, 1979,1979a.
Officer, C.B. Discussion of the Behaviour of nonconservative dissolved constituents in
estuaries. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science9:91-94, 1979b.
Rawn, A.M. Discussion.Sewageand IndustrialWastes23:208-209,1951.
Uncles, R.J., R.C.A. Elliot, and $.A. Weston. Observed fluxes of water salt and suspended
sedimentin a partly mixed estuary.Estuarine,Coastaland ShelfScience20: 147-167, 1985.
Wood, T. A modification of existing simple segmentedtidal prism models of mixing in
estuaries. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 8:339-347,

Studies on TransportTimes and Water

Quality in the Weser Estuary (Germany)
I. Grabemann, H. Ktihle, B. Kunze and A. Mtiller


Times for the transportof conservativesubstances by advectionand diffusion through

the Weser Estuary derived from both model calculationsand field observationsare
presented. They depend strongly on the river discharge. The retention time of a
water parcel for the inner part of the estuary (about 65 km in length) varies from
about 27 days (long-term minimum discharge) to 3 days (long-term maximum
discharge). The transporttimes affect locationsand strengthsof oxygenand nutrient
extremeswithin the longitudinalsection. In warmer monthswhen biological activity
is high, wastewater will be decomposed,resulting in a decrease of the oxygen
content. The occurrenceof oxygen minima and nutrient peaks in the longitudinal
section is closely associatedwith the retention time of a water parcel. While there
are narrow and well pronouncedextremesin the upstreampart of the estuaryduring
low river discharges,diffused extremesare observedmore downstreamduring mean
fiver discharges.


The predictionof the transportbehaviourof a pollutantcloud in a river or estuaryis

of great importance. In order to alleviate potential negative impact, it is necessary
to predict its time of arrival at sensitivelocations.
Like many other estuariesthe Weser Estuary, one of the North German estuaries
(Figure 1), is used as navigational channel to important harboursand as receiving

Mixing in Estuariesand CoastalSeas

CoastalandEstuarineStudiesVolume50, Pages291-301
Copyright1996by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion
292 Weser Estuary

' øø?••øøE

•'•--•, BREMER-

.ø•e 1

Figure 1. Map of the Weser Estuary (Lower Weser River: weir to km 65). The black dots
denote banksidemonitoring stations1-6. The numbers along the fiver give the kilometres
downstream of Bremen.

body for both urban and industrial sewage. Additionally, large amountsof various
substancessuch as nutrients and trace elements enter the estuary from the river.
Whereas conservative substancesare affected by advective and diffusive transport,
nutrientsare also subjectto biological processes.The time scalesof self-puriϥcation
processesare in the same order of magnitude as tidally averaged transport times.
For example, in the Weser Estuary the specific rates for both biodegradation of
organiccarbonand biodegradationof ammoniumto nitrite and nitrate (nitriϥcation)
arein theorderof lx10-6s-1 (Mulleret al., 1992). Thus,thetimefor decomposition
of these substancesis about ten days. The transport of trace elements attached to
suspended matter is also influenced by sedimentation, resuspension and the
occurrenceof a turbidity maximum and has higher retention times.

Transporttimes have been estimatedfor severalGermanrivers, e.g. Elbe (Schoer,

1988), Rhine (Brtiggemannand Trapp, 1989), and Main (Krauseet al., 1987). The
calculation of such times for estuaries is complicated by the periodical current
reversal due to tides. The spreadingof warm water plumes in the Weser Estuary has
been calculatedby Hanisch(1975) and Hauseret al. (1981).
In this paper, transporttimes of conservativesubstancesthrough the Weser Estuary
have been derived from both measurementsand model simulations using salt as a
tracer. Due to salt mining in the catchmentarea, salinity, even in the "freshwater"
region of the estuary, can reach up to 2 ppt. Reduced salt input at weekends
providesfor salt minima in the salinity time seriesat the head of the estuary.
Grabemann et al. 293

minima are clear signals which can be followed over a distance of about 30 km
along the estuary. First, long time seriesof salinity measuredat three monitoring
stationsin the freshwaterregion of the Weser Estuaryhave been analysedand tidally
averagedtransporttimes have been derivedfrom the time-lag betweenthe minima at
these three stations. Second,a time dependendcross-sectionaveragednumerical
model has been used to simulate movements of water parcels or conservative
substancesand to calculatetidally averagedtransporttimes. Transporttimes derived
from the measuredsalinity variations are then comparedto those derived by using
the numerical model. Until now only transporttimes of conservativesubstancesare
available from measurementsfor model verification. Finally, longitudinal profiles of
oxygen and nutrient contentsare discussedwith respectto these carculatedtransport

Weser Estuary

The Weser Estuary is a coastal plain estuary. The tides are semi-diurnal and
asymmetrical. The estuary is seperatedfrom the non-tidal part of the River Weser
by a weir to the southof Bremen(Figure 1). The mean tidal amplitudeis about 3.6
m at Bremerhaven and about 3.9 m at Bremen. The maximum current velocities
duringebbor floodtidearegreater
than1 m s-1. Thelong-term
is about326m3 s-1,thelong-term
minimum andmaximum discharge
is 120and1200
m3 s-1, respectively(mean values 1941/1987,DeutschesGewasserkundliches
Jahrbuch,Weser-/Emsgebiet,1987). As previously mentioned, the salinity in the
freshwaterregion variesup to 2 ppt. During times of low river discharge,noticeable
influenceof the seawatersalinitycan be observedas far upstreamas 40-45 km. The
inner part of the Weser Estuary has a channel-like character. It is the result of
engineeringworks carried out over the last 100 years to fulfil the requirementsof
navigation. The mean water depthin the fairway is about 10 m. The outer estuary
downstreamof Bremerhavenis funnel-shapedwithin the Wadden Sea area. Here,
the mean water depthin the fairway is about 15-20 m.
The water quality of the Lower Weser River (upstreampart of the Weser Estuary) is
monitored in a comprehensive. The monitoring of the discharge of effluents is
performed by the appropriate water authorities as well as by sewage treatment
plants, industrial plants and power stations discharging wastewater into or taking
water from the Weser river. The water authoritiesare also responsiblefor monitoring
the river water by taking regular longitudinal profile measurementsfrom a ship
almost once a month. Furthermore, continuous measurements are undertaken at six
onshore stations: one near the weir, three in the freshwater region and two in the
brackish water zone of the Lower Weser (Figure 1). Additionally, special field
have beenjointly carriedout by differentinstitutions(ARGE Weser,
1982; Muller et al., 1990; Grabemannet al., 1993). With regard to water quality
modelling, information for boundaryconditionsand wastewaterinputs as well as
values for model verifications have been derived from these data
294 Weser Estuary

TransportTimes for ConservativeSubstances

Transporttimesderivedfrom salinitymeasurements

The salt input by potash industry into the inland river is reduced for short times
causingminima in the time series of salinity or conductivity at the monitoring
stations. Time seriesof conductivityare presentedin Figure 2. At station1 at the
head of the estuary these minima are generally obvious and can be followed to
stations2 (about 15 km downstream)and 3 (about 30 km downstream;Figure 2).
Their times of arrival at thesestationsdependon the river discharge.
Due to the longitudinal dispersion these minima broaden and the salinity
(representedby the conductivity) therein increases. Depending on the salinity
gradientand the tidal amplitude,the signal is more or less weakenedat the stations
2 and 3, whereit is superimposed by the tidal oscillations.However,no influenceof
the seawatersalinity is observedthere.





•co 0.2 :


May 1987

Figure 2. Time seriesof conductivityfor the monitoring stations1 and 3 in the "freshwater"
region of the estuary (top). Filtered and standardisedseries for the duration of the salt
Grabemann et al. 295

8 .
[ . ß station1 --> station3
:, ß o station1 --> station2

4 .... '•, .............................. :.......... .:..........

ß • - - .
ß OO ß . .

0 , I ' ' ' [ ,
0 400 800 1200


Figure 3. Tidally averagedtransporttimes for the distancesstation 1 --• station2 and station 1
--• station3 as functionsof the river dischargeR. The dots and open rectangles(fitted by the
thin lines) denote those derived from salinity measurements. The thick dashed lines present
those derived from model calculations.

The time series for the three stations have been "filtered" (running average) to
eliminate the tidal oscillations and standardised to the same minimum and
maximum, respectively. The time-lag between the minima of the different series
gives the tidally averagedtransporttimes. For the example shown in Figure 2, the
time-lagbetweenthe salt minima at station1 and station3 is 71.5 h.
Twenty salinity minima during different river discharge conditions have been
analysed. The tidally averagedtransporttimes betweenmonitoring stations1 and 2
and 1 and 3, respectively,are shownin Figure 3 as functionsof the river discharge.
The correspondingresidual currents(defined by the quotient 'distancebetween the
stations/ respectivetransporttime') vary between

rn$ s-1 discharge:
rn$ s-1
1 to 2 (0.08_+0.02)m3s-1 (0.37_+0.05)m3s-1
1 to 3 (0.07_+0.01)m3s-1 (0.33_+0.04)m3s-1
On its way through a river or estuary, a pollutant cloud will be mixed with non-
polluted water and also influenced by bottom shear stress,wind stress,turbulence
causedfor example by breakwaters,harbour areas or shipping,and dischargesfrom
tributaries. Therefore, the longitudinaldispersionhas also been considered.
At a fixed location, the longitudinal spreading of a signal due to longitudinal
dispersionresults in a prolongation of the time needed for the signal to pass the
station. Therefore, in the salinity time series of station I (station 2 or 3)
296 Weser Estuary

longitudinaldispersionprovidesfor a "widening"of the salinity signal. Ati presents

this widening relative to the width of the signalin the time seriesof station1.
The At1 have been determinedfor the 20 salinity signals. At station 2, At2 varies
between 0 and 21.8 h and at station 3, At3 varies between 0 and 41 h. For the
exampleshownin Figure 2 we have At3 = 18.5 h. No significantcorrelationbetween
the longitudinal dispersionand the respectiveriver dischargeor wind velocity and
direction has been found.

Transporttimesderivedby modelcalculations

A one-dimensionaltime-dependentcross-sectionaveragednumerical water quality

and transport model (Muller et al., 1992) has been verified for the Lower Weser
River. For calculating water level and currentsthe St. Venant equationsare used.
For boundary conditionsdaily averagesof the river dischargeupstreamof the weir
and water levels measuredat ten gaugesare available. Previous studieshave shown
that it is possible to determine the water level in the Lower Weser River with
sufficient accuracy by linear interpolation between the ten gauges. Thus, in this
case only the continuity equation was used for calculation of the currents. For
simulation of all other variables an advection-diffusion equation is used. For
conservativesubstances (e.g. salinity) this equationhas the form

•(A.f.S) +•-• 3A.(u.
Os- q =0 (1)

= ß . (2)

t is the time [s], s the spacecoordinate[m], p(s,t) the wetted perimeter [m], A(s,t)
[m2 s-i],
f(s,t) a dimensionlessfactor resultingfrom the curvilinear coordinatesystem,q(s,t)
input[kgm2s-l]. )•(s,t)is thelongitudinal
and S(s,t) the concentration of the substance(sa10 [g/L]. The values from the
monitoring stations1 and 6 are usedas boundaryvalues.
For different river discharges,movements of a water parcel or conservativetracer
which starts at time zero at the weir at Bremen have been simulated as follows. The
salinity at the downstreamboundary(station 6) was assumedto be zero, that at the
upstreamboundary(station 1) was assumedto be high (10 ppt). The propagationof
this "step" has been followed through the estuary. The effects of such a step are
more pronouncedthan a salinity minimum and therefore,easierto identify. In Figure
4 the movementsof the step which will be equatedwith a conservativesubstance
for a riverdischarge
of R = 324m3 s-1 (long-term
The movements show the periodic reversal with ebb and flood currents. Tidal
averages of these movements result in curves for the net mass
Grabemann et al. 297

t20 .................
ß •

!............... .

• '".....
.................................................. !..............•. ......... !...............::................

..... •'220.................
. :


I '-: --'lI ' I ' I ' I ' I ' I ' I ' I ' I
0 20 40 60 80

distance (km)

4. Calculated
forR = 324m3s-1 Tidalaverages
in curvesfor the net transportandare givenfor differentriver disch•gges
R (dashedlines).

Thesecurvesare characterised
by the river discharge.In periodsof low discharge,a
27 daysto passthe65 km longinnerpart(weir to
UW-km 60) of the estuary. This time is reducedto 11 daysduringperiodsof mean
dischargeandto 3 daysduringperiodsof high discharge.
Figure 3 showsthat transporttimescalculatedby modelruns comparereasonably
well with those derived from salinity measurements.
In orderto checkthe longitudinaldispersioncoefficientusedin the model (eq. (2))
the measuredsalinitysignalshownin Figure2 is appliedas boundaryconditionfor
the upstreamboundary. River dischargewas chosento be the sameas duringthe
timeof measurements (360m3 s-1). Modelledandmeasured Atl arethencompared.
The modelsimulation givesAt3 (model) = 20.7 h for the wideningof the salinity
signalat station3. Thisdiffersslightlyfromthemeasured wideningof At3= 18.5h.
This differencemay resultfrom numericaldiffusionin the model(explicitnumerical
scheme,forward in time, centredor upstreamdifferencesin space, respectively,
differencelength 125 m, time step20 s).

In the previoussection,movementsof water parcelsas well as tidally averaged
transporttimeshavebeendetermined.Thesemovements andtransport timesaffect
locationandstrengthof oxygenandnutrientextremeswithinthe longitudinal
298 Weser Estuary

Biological decompositionprocessesdependon water temperatureand season(e.g.

Benoit, 1971; Rinaldi et al., 1979). Measured longitudinalprofiles of ammoniumand
oxygencontentsare presentedin Figure 5. In winter, the high ammoniumload from
upstreamof the weir (about 0.75 mg/L) further enlargedby wastewaterdischarges
into the estuary is transportedinto the North Sea without biodegradation. Thus,
dissolvedoxygen is also high (about 12.5 mg/L). In contrast,during the summer
when the biological activity is high, wastewaterwill be decomposedresultingin an
oxygenminimum (Figure 5) in the Lower Weser River causedby biodegradationand
nitrification. Due to self-purificationprocessesin the inland river, the ammonium
load from upstreamthe weir is low during the summer. During May to October,
wastewaterinputs into the Lower Weser River cause an ammoniumpeak between
km 10 and 40 which is followed by a nitrite peak due to nitrification. Measured
longitudinalsectionsof nitrate and phosphatecontentshowno significantpeaks. As
the nitrate load at the weir is high (about 5 mg/L), the nitrate increase due to
nitrification in the Lower Weser fiver is negligible. Within the brackish water zone
the nutrient contents decrease due to mixing with sea water (Grabemann et al.,
1993). Despite this dilution, a secondammonium peak followed by a nitrite peak
can occurin the Bremerhavenarea due to respectiveinputs(Figure 5 and 6).

TABLE 1: Number of passagesof a water parcel at two locationsfor four river discharges.The
water parcel starts at time zero at the weir. NP gives the number of its passagesat the
location. The values have been derived from model simulationsas shown in Figure 4 for a
of 324m3s-1.

River discharge NP

(m3 s-•) Station 2 Station 3

120 5 15

324 3 5

600 1 3

1200 1 3

Table 1 gives the calculatednumber of passagesof a water parcel (derived from

model calculations)at two locationswhich are near wastewaterinputs. The number
of passagesof a water parcel at a fixed location and, therefore, the frequency of
wastewater inputs into this parcel increasewith decreasingfiver discharge. Thus,
ammonium and nitrite peaks are much more pronouncedin the upstreampart of the
estuaryduringlow fiver discharges
(Figure5: R = 140m3 s-1) whereasdiffused
extremesare observedmore downstreamduringmean fiver discharges(Figure 5: R =
430 m3 s-1). Especially,
thenitritepeakis muchmorepronounced
discharge(Figure 6) when the residencetime of a water parcel in the upstreampart
is longer and the ammonium decrease due to nitrification takes place within a
smaller area. The changeof ammoniumcontentin a water parcel can be written in
the simplified
Grabemann et al. 299

ß ,


.. •...:,.,.?,...•,i..1;::::.-.....:.i,,':•,..,•...:.4•:....,,•
! :
.... :
' I ' i ' I ' I ' I ....






0.20 ... ....:. ' i i/•i i Isumm'e•

. ! I
.:........ z .......• ..........:.......
:: ' /! ! 140m3/sß
. . i .•...................
!...i ß -twinterI..,
• i -,..:;, ! •
ß0 , ' 20i , i ' ;0 ' i ' õ0i ' i , 80
distance (kin)

Figure 5. Longitudinalprofiles of oxygen(O, top), ammonium-nitrogen(NH-N, middle), and

nitrite-nitrogen content (NO -N, bottom) for winter and summer situations (two river
R = 140,430m3s-1).

ß . . ß . , ß
: ' : • /'" • \.',; ß : /
i : :. .-'" . \ '"N'
: , ; , , x, ; , ; , , , •:; , ;
• 300 ß : :o / ! "-%: -o• ß : '-'/"
CO : ß 'cS ß _• : / : u. : 0.04 "'"
....... ., ,o
o'. ; /'!
./_ _-•; .;-. . .ß .

.• ..........
. :. •i.•,J..............
.'. ,•............
: ... :
t- o.o•" " : / //./ :/I/ I ) ;
0 200 ................................
'o : • •' 0.'•"•
. ß ;./i<•, ••l'/'•/i;"x•:
......... .:.
..... : .... • .9'. .... i.... • .... i
. ; i.... i .. . : .....

100 ' 0• ' • ' 20' ' • ' 4'0' • ' 6•0 ' • ' 80
distance (km)
Figure 6. Lines of equal nitrite-nitrogen-content(mg/L) in a distance/riverdischargediagram.
The values are obtainedfrom longitudinalprofile measurementsduring the warmer
300 Weser Estuary

dN m
dt - -fN'N' (3)

N is theammonium
andfN = 1110-6s-1(Mulleret al., 1992)the specific
degradationrate. It takes 8 days to reduce an initial ammonium concentrationto
half its value.

If we assumean initial ammoniumconcentrationresultingmainly from dischargesof

a large sewagetreatmentplant located at km 10, the positionX1/2 where the initial
concentrationhas been reducedto half its value is a function of transporttime and
thusriver discharge. 11/2 was obtainedfrom measuredlongitudinalsummerprofiles
of the ammonium-nitrogencontent. The results are listed in Table 2. In order to
avoid ammoniumdecreasedue to dilution by sea water, only suchprofiles have been
included for which the river dischargewas relatively low and no influence of the
seawatersalinity was noticeableas far upstreamas 11/2. A water parcelneedsthe
time 'CDifffor its first passageat km 10 to its last passageat position11/2. This time
can be derivedfrom the simulatedmovementsof a water parcel as shownin Figure 4
for a discharge
of 324m3 s-1. Suchtimesarealsogivenin table2 for thevarious
dischargeintervalsand distanceskm 10 --• 11/2. Thesetimes are in the rangeof the
calculatedtime using equation3. In 8 days a water parcel is transportedabout 14
km downstream
during90-120m3s-1whereas it travelsabout28 km during180-210
m3s-1. Theammonium reduction
in onecasetakesplacewithina reachof 14kmin
the other case within 28 km.

TABLE 2. X 1/2denotesthe position at which an ammoniumreductionto half the value of that

at km 10 has occurred(in the vicinity of km 10 large ammoniumloads are discharged). This
positionis listed for four fiver dischargeintervals. n is the numberof the analysedlongitudinal
profile measurements.ZDiff is the time differencebetweenthe first passageof the water parcel
at km 10 and the last passageat Xl/2.

River discharge n x
(m s ) (km)

90- 120 6 24 _+ 5 7.2

120- 150 5