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Free Content Transport across the western boundary of Florida Bay

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Current meter time series, bottom pressure records and acoustic doppler profiler data assembled from three field studies conducted from 1994 to 1997 are combined with wind data to investigate the transport of water across the open western boundary of Florida Bay. Calculations suggest that the interaction of tidal variations in currents and water levels along the 81°05′W meridian transports water into Florida Bay at an average rate of 1470 m3 s−1. Fortnightly tidal cycles produce variations ranging from 35–150% about the mean. At a rate of 1470 m3 s−1, water level in the 2219 km2 area east of the 81°05′W meridian would rise at a rate of 5.7 cm d−1. It is hypothesized that Gulf water enters the bay faster than it can drain into Hawk Channel on the Atlantic side of the keys, and that outflow occurs also as a quasi-steady southwestward transport from the southern part of the bay, where tide-induced residual transport is weakest. Transport calculations indicate a region of weak but persistent outflow through the southern end of the boundary. Wind stress is coherent with flow across the western boundary primarily over time scales longer than seven days. Year-to-year differences in wind forcing are consistent with differences in net eastward transport through the central and northern parts of the boundary.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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