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Salt flux into coastal river plumes: Dye studies in the Delaware and Hudson River outflows

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Abstract:

The results of ten dye tracer experiments conducted in 2003–2006 to study the dispersion of the outflow of the Delaware and Hudson Rivers are presented. A fluorescent dye tracer was used to track the river plume and to measure directly the salt flux into the plume. A variety of flow regimes were encountered. During strong upwelling events, a salt flux of ∼3 ÷ 10–4 kg m s–1 at the leading edge of the plume implies a vertical diffusivity of Kz ∼ 3 × 10–4 m–2 s–1. Comparable salt flux was measured at the leading edge of a buoyancy-driven coastal current with Kz ∼ 6.3 × 10–4 m–2 s–1. For weaker wind events Kz was ≤10–4 m–2 s–1. Using a gradient Richardson number (Ri), these observations were replicated by a 1-D model of vertical salt flux to within a factor of 2. Upwelling events are the most efficient mechanism for dispersing the river plume water over the coastal shelf because the plume's offshore displacement is combined with a horizontal diffusivity measured to be ∼150 m–2 s–1 over the two-day period of each experiment.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1357/002224009792006142

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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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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