Abstract. The results of a remote sensing study of tidal mixing processes in the Tay estuary are correlated with the results of mathematical and physical models and ground sampling data in an attempt to assess the nature, the spatial and temporal extent, and the variability in the formation of convergent fronts in the Tay estuary. The application of remote sensing methods to the study of estuarine mixing processes in the Tay Estuary, supported by ground measurements, reveal convergent front mechanisms which had not previously been recognized in the Tay estuary. This integrated approach enables the various features and mixing mechanisms found in the lower section of the estuary to be related. The limitations of using a two-dimensional mathematical and a physical model to predict the complex mixing processes affecting water quality in the Tay Estuary are discussed. The widespread occurrence of convergent systems in the estuarine environment suggests that to obtain an accurate estuarine water quality model, the effect of fronts should be included. The limitations of remote sensing data, the problems of geometrically rectifying airborne imagery in the coastal zone, and two methods of correcting for atmospheric effects in the thermal infrared waveband are also discussed.