Skip to main content

Free Content Particle trapping in a stratified flood-dominated estuary

Download Article:
 Download
(PDF)
 

Abstract:

Observations in the Navesink River estuary in northern New Jersey demonstrate that buoyancy augments the particle trapping tendencies of flood-dominated systems because these estuaries heighten tidal period asymmetries in stratification. During the long and slow ebb which typifies flood-dominated systems, a positive feedback between tidal straining and weak vertical mixing stratifies the estuary. In contrast, during flood, turbulence generated by the stronger tidal currents augments overstraining of the density field and the water column becomes well mixed. The tidal period asymmetries in stratification have profound effects on the vertical structure and transport of suspended matter. During ebb, weak vertical mixing allows suspended material to settle downward. In contrast, strong turbulence during flood mixes suspended matter into the water column where it is transported up estuary. Furthermore, observations reveal that resuspension events are marked by multiple turbidity spikes, suggestive of multiple, limited layers of erodible material. The transport of the turbid waters is consistent with horizontal advection modified by horizontal dispersion. Periods of enhanced stratification are also marked by relatively low levels of turbidity during the ebb, consistent with more complete settling of suspended material following times of high river discharge.

The interplay between buoyancy and tidal asymmetries are further elucidated with a onedimensional numerical model featuring a turbulent closure scheme and a passively settling tracer. Model results are generally consistent with the field observations, both emphasizing the robust particle trapping tendencies of a stratified flood-dominated estuary. We speculate that enhanced particle trapping following times of high river discharge may have important biological consequences.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1357/002224001321237353

Publication date: 2001-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more