An Investigation of Near-Bottom Flow Patterns Along and Across Hawk Channel, Florida Keys
Abstract:Current and wind data collected during a 124-day study period between August and December of 1991 as part of the SEAKEYS program are used to characterize near-bottom circulation at two study sites widely separated along the longitudinal axis of Hawk Channel, Florida Keys. Currents at both study sites are influenced primarily by local winds and secondarily by the tides. Spectral analysis indicates statistically significant coherence between along-channel wind stress and currents at periodicities of 3–4 days. Tidal co-oscillations are responsible for 17–19% and 5–25% of the total variance of the along-channel and across-channel currents, respectively. Net flows appear to reflect seasonal changes in local winds. During the first half of the study net flow is towards the northeast at a resultant speed of 0.4 cm·s−1 at the Upper Keys site and towards the south, southwest at 2.3 cm·s−1 at the Lower Keys site. During the second half of the study net flow is towards the southwest at both locations, with resultant speeds of 1.0 cm·s−1 at the Upper Keys site and 6.1 cm·s−1 at the Lower Keys site. Evidence suggests that divergence may be occurring throughout the study period. Net inflow to Hawk Channel through tidal channels supports the idea of a divergence in the along-channel flow and probably explains a distinct across-channel motion at the Lower Keys site.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1994
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