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Free Content Tidal fronts and their role in air-sea gas exchange

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Tidal fronts are a common feature of many coastal environments. They are characterized by a surface convergence zone that enhances wave breaking and the generation of gas bubbles due to wave-current interaction. The associated downwelling currents carry bubbles to depths of up to 160 m and increase the amount of air that dissolves from them.

An energetic tidal front is formed at the entrance to the Strait of Georgia, BC, Canada, by a hydraulically controlled sill flow with vertical velocities of up to 0.75 m s−1. Extensive ship-board measurements during two cruises are interpreted with models of wave-current interaction and gas bubble behavior. The observations suggest that tidal fronts may contribute significantly to the aeration of the subsurface waters in the Fraser Estuary. This process may be also of importance for other coastal environments with plunging sill flows of dense water that deliver aerated surface water to intermediate depths.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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  • 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.
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