Mixing of dissolved oxygen in Chesapeake Bay driven by the interaction between wind-driven circulation and estuarine bathymetry
Scully, Malcolm E.
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Field observations collected in Chesapeake Bay demonstrate how wind-driven circulation interacts with estuarine bathymetry to control when and where the vertical mixing of dissolved oxygen occurs. In the across-Bay direction, the lateral Ekman response to along-Bay wind forcing contributes to the vertical mixing of dissolved oxygen in two ways. First, the lateral tilting of the pycnocline/oxycline, consistent with the thermal wind relationship, advects the region of high vertical gradient into the surface and bottom boundary layers where mixing can occur. Second, upwelling of low-oxygen water to the surface enhances the atmospheric influx. In the along-Bay direction, the abrupt change in bottom depth associated with Rappahannock Shoal results in surface convergence and downwelling, leading to localized vertical mixing. Water that is mixed on the shoal is entrained into the up-Bay residual bottom flow resulting in increases in bottom dissolved oxygen that propagate up the system. The increases in dissolved oxygen are often associated with increases in temperature and decreases in salinity, consistent with vertical mixing. However, the lagged arrival moving northward suggests that the propagation of this signal up the Bay is due to advection.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 121 (2016): 5639–5654, doi:10.1002/2016JC011924.
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