Geyer W. Rockwell

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W. Rockwell

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  • Dataset
    Data and numerical methods for determining the dynamics and kinematics of Newark Bay, NJ
    ( 2019-07-30) Corlett, W. Bryce ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Chant, Robert J. ; Ralston, David K. ; Sommerfield, Christopher K.
    These observational data and numerical methods were used to investigate the subtidal salt balance of Newark Bay, a sub-estuarine network connected to the Hudson River estuary through New York Harbor. The moored data were collected in 2008 by Chant and Sommerfield, and in 2016 by Corlett, Geyer, and Ralston. Corlett devised the included numerical methods. Shipboard measurements of the vertical salinity profile near each mooring were used to reconstruct the tidally-varying vertical salinity profile from near-bed and near-surface salinity measurements at each mooring. The effects of tidal processes, such as frontal advection, on the exchange flow were investigated by applying the isohaline total exchange flow (TEF) framework to the mooring-based observations in multiple reaches of the estuarine network. In addition, a TEF-based salt balance was derived for the purpose of directly comparing the TEF framework with the standard Eulerian framework.
  • Article
    The influence of stratification and nonlocal turbulent production on estuarine turbulence : an assessment of turbulence closure with field observations
    (American Meteorological Society, 2011-01) Scully, Malcolm E. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Trowbridge, John H.
    Field observations of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), dissipation rate ε, and turbulent length scale demonstrate the impact of both density stratification and nonlocal turbulent production on turbulent momentum flux. The data were collected in a highly stratified salt wedge estuary using the Mobile Array for Sensing Turbulence (MAST). Estimates of the dominant length scale of turbulent motions obtained from the vertical velocity spectra provide field confirmation of the theoretical limitation imposed by either the distance to the boundary or the Ozmidov scale, whichever is smaller. Under boundary-limited conditions, anisotropy generally increases with increasing shear and decreased distance to the boundary. Under Ozmidov-limited conditions, anisotropy increases rapidly when the gradient Richardson number exceeds 0.25. Both boundary-limited and Ozmidov-limited conditions demonstrate significant deviations from a local production–dissipation balance that are largely consistent with simple scaling relationships for the vertical divergence in TKE flux. Both the impact of stratification and deviation from equilibrium turbulence observed in the data are largely consistent with commonly used turbulence closure models that employ “nonequilibrium” stability functions. The data compare most favorably with the nonequilibrium version of the L. H. Kantha and C. A. Clayson stability functions. Not only is this approach more consistent with the observed critical gradient Richardson number of 0.25, but it also accounts for the large deviations from equilibrium turbulence in a manner consistent with the observations.
  • Technical Report
    The 17-meter flume at the Coastal Research Laboratory. Part II, Flow characteristics : technical report
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1989-05) Trowbridge, John H. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Butman, Cheryl Ann ; Chapman, Robert J.
    This report summarizes the characteristics of the idealized one-dimensional turbulent channel flow for which the 17-Meter Flume was designed, and describes a measurement program designed to determine whether the flume can in fact produce such a flow. The measured quantities include mean velocities, Reynolds stresses, turbulence intensities and velocity spectra. Measured profiles of mean velocity, Reynolds stress and turbulence intensity are consistent with previous theoretical and empirical results. Measured spectra, although consistent with expectations over a wide range of frequencies, indicate a few unexpected features, including a constant spectral density at high frequencies (possibly due to aliasing or high-frequency noise) , motion at a few well-defined high frequencies of order 10 hz (possibly due to structual vibrations), oscillations with time scales of order 30 s (possibly due to low-mode standing surface waves) and irregular motions with time scales of several minutes (possibly due to fluctuations in pump performance) . The unexpected features indicated by the spectra at high and low frequencies do not have a significant effect on mean velocities and low-order statistics, but they may be important in some applications.
  • Article
    Sediment transport time scales and trapping efficiency in a tidal river
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-11-02) Ralston, David K. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell
    Observations and a numerical model are used to characterize sediment transport in the tidal Hudson River. A sediment budget over 11 years including major discharge events indicates the tidal fresh region traps about 40% of the sediment input from the watershed. Sediment input scales with the river discharge cubed, while seaward transport in the tidal river scales linearly, so the tidal river accumulates sediment during the highest discharge events. Sediment pulses associated with discharge events dissipate moving seaward and lag the advection speed of the river by a factor of 1.5 to 3. Idealized model simulations with a range of discharge and settling velocity were used to evaluate the trapping efficiency, transport rate, and mean age of sediment input from the watershed. The seaward transport of suspended sediment scales linearly with discharge but lags the river velocity by a factor that is linear with settling velocity. The lag factor is 30–40 times the settling velocity (mm s−1), so transport speeds vary by orders of magnitude from clay (0.01 mm s−1) to coarse silt (1 mm s−1). Deposition along the tidal river depends strongly on settling velocity, and a simple advection-reaction equation represents the loss due to settling on depositional shoals. The long-term discharge record is used to represent statistically the distribution of transport times, and time scales for settling velocities of 0.1 mm s−1 and 1 mm s−1 range from several months to several years for transport through the tidal river and several years to several decades through the estuary.
  • Article
    Wave generation, dissipation, and disequilibrium in an embayment with complex bathymetry
    (American Geophysical Union, 2018-10-04) Chen, Jia-Lin ; Ralston, David K. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Sommerfield, Christopher K. ; Chant, Robert J.
    Heterogeneous, sharply varying bathymetry is common in estuaries and embayments, and complex interactions between the bathymetry and wave processes fundamentally alter the distribution of wave energy. The mechanisms that control the generation and dissipation of wind waves in an embayment with heterogeneous, sharply varying bathymetry are evaluated with an observational and numerical study of the Delaware Estuary. Waves in the lower bay depend on both local wind forcing and remote wave forcing from offshore, but elsewhere in the estuary waves are controlled by the local winds and the response of the wavefield to bathymetric variability. Differences in the wavefield with wind direction highlight the impacts of heterogeneous bathymetry and limited fetch. Under the typical winter northwest wind conditions waves are fetch‐limited in the middle estuary and reach equilibrium with local water depth only in the lower bay. During southerly wind conditions typical of storms, wave energy is near equilibrium in the lower bay, and midestuary waves are attenuated by the combination of whitecapping and bottom friction, particularly over the steep, longitudinal shoals. Although the energy dissipation due to bottom friction is generally small relative to whitecapping, it becomes significant where the waves shoal abruptly due to steep bottom topography. In contrast, directional spreading keeps wave heights in the main channel significantly less than local equilibrium. The wave disequilibrium in the deep navigational channel explains why the marked increase in depth by dredging of the modern channel has had little impact on wave conditions.
  • Article
    Quantifying vertical mixing in estuaries
    (Springer, 2008-10-21) Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Scully, Malcolm E. ; Ralston, David K.
    Estuarine turbulence is notable in that both the dissipation rate and the buoyancy frequency extend to much higher values than in other natural environments. The high dissipation rates lead to a distinct inertial subrange in the velocity and scalar spectra, which can be exploited for quantifying the turbulence quantities. However, high buoyancy frequencies lead to small Ozmidov scales, which require high sampling rates and small spatial aperture to resolve the turbulent fluxes. A set of observations in a highly stratified estuary demonstrate the effectiveness of a vessel-mounted turbulence array for resolving turbulent processes, and for relating the turbulence to the forcing by the Reynolds-averaged flow. The observations focus on the ebb, when most of the buoyancy flux occurs. Three stages of mixing are observed: (1) intermittent and localized but intense shear instability during the early ebb; (2) continuous and relatively homogeneous shear-induced mixing during the mid-ebb, and weakly stratified, boundary-layer mixing during the late ebb. The mixing efficiency as quantified by the flux Richardson number Rf was frequently observed to be higher than the canonical value of 0.15 from Osborn (J Phys Oceanogr 10:83–89, 1980). The high efficiency may be linked to the temporal–spatial evolution of shear instabilities.
  • Article
    Total exchange flow, entrainment, and diffusive salt flux in estuaries
    (American Meteorological Society, 2017-03-14) Wang, Tao ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; MacCready, Parker
    The linkage among total exchange flow, entrainment, and diffusive salt flux in estuaries is derived analytically using salinity coordinates, revealing the simple but important relationship between total exchange flow and mixing. Mixing is defined and quantified in this paper as the dissipation of salinity variance. The method uses the conservation of volume and salt to quantify and distinguish the diahaline transport of volume (i.e., entrainment) and diahaline diffusive salt flux. A numerical model of the Hudson estuary is used as an example of the application of the method in a realistic estuary with a persistent but temporally variable exchange flow. A notable finding of this analysis is that the total exchange flow and diahaline salt flux are out of phase with respect to the spring–neap cycle. Total exchange flow reaches its maximum near minimum neap tide, but diahaline salt transport reaches its maximum during the maximum spring tide. This phase shift explains the strong temporal variation of stratification and estuarine salt content through the spring–neap cycle. In addition to quantifying temporal variation, the method reveals the spatial variation of total exchange flow, entrainment, and diffusive salt flux through the estuary. For instance, the analysis of the Hudson estuary indicates that diffusive salt flux is intensified in the wider cross sections. The method also provides a simple means of quantifying numerical mixing in ocean models because it provides an estimate of the total dissipation of salinity variance, which is the sum of mixing due to the turbulence closure and numerical mixing.
  • Article
    Sources, mechanisms, and timescales of sediment delivery to a New England salt marsh
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-02-23) Baranes, Hannah E. ; Woodruff, Jonathan D. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Yellen, Brian ; Richardson, Justin B. ; Griswold, Frances
    he availability and delivery of an external clastic sediment source is a key factor in determining salt marsh resilience to future sea level rise. However, information on sources, mechanisms, and timescales of sediment delivery are lacking, particularly for wave-protected mesotidal estuaries. Here we show that marine sediment mobilized and delivered during coastal storms is a primary source to the North and South Rivers, a mesotidal bar-built estuary in a small river system impacted by frequent, moderate-intensity storms that is typical to New England (United States). On the marsh platform, deposition rates, clastic content, and dilution of fluvially-sourced contaminated sediment by marine material all increase down-estuary toward the inlet, consistent with a predominantly marine-derived sediment source. Marsh clastic deposition rates are also highest in the storm season. We observe that periods of elevated turbidity in channels and over the marsh are concurrent with storm surge and high wave activity offshore, rather than with high river discharge. Flood tide turbidity also exceeds ebb tide turbidity during storm events. Timescales of storm-driven marine sediment delivery range from 2.5 days to 2 weeks, depending on location within the estuary; therefore the phasing of storm surge and waves with the spring-neap cycle determines how effectively post-event suspended sediment is delivered to the marsh platform. This study reveals that sediment supply and the associated resilience of New England mesotidal salt marshes involves the interplay of coastal and estuarine processes, underscoring the importance of looking both up- and downstream to identify key drivers of environmental change.
  • Article
    The balance of salinity variance in a partially stratified estuary: implications for exchange flow, mixing, and stratification
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-12-05) Wang, Tao ; Geyer, W. Rockwell
    Salinity variance dissipation is related to exchange flow through the salinity variance balance equation, and meanwhile its magnitude is also proportional to the turbulence production and stratification inside the estuary. As river flow increases, estuarine volume-integrated salinity variance dissipation increases owing to more variance input from the open boundaries driven by exchange flow and river flow. This corresponds to the increased efficient conversion of turbulence production to salinity variance dissipation due to the intensified stratification with higher river flow. Through the spring–neap cycle, the temporal variation of salinity variance dissipation is more dependent on stratification than turbulence production, so it reaches its maximum during the transition from neap to spring tides. During most of the transition time from spring to neap tides, the advective input of salinity variance from the open boundaries is larger than dissipation, resulting in the net increase of variance, which is mainly expressed as vertical variance, that is, stratification. The intensified stratification in turn increases salinity variance dissipation. During neap tides, a large amount of enhanced salinity variance dissipation is induced by the internal shear stress near the halocline. During most of the transition time from neap to spring tides, dissipation becomes larger than the advective input, so salinity variance decreases and the stratification is destroyed.
  • Article
    Turbulent energy production and entrainment at a highly stratified estuarine front
    (American Geophysical Union, 2004-05-01) MacDonald, Daniel G. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell
    Rates of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) production and buoyancy flux in the region immediately seaward (~1 km) of a highly stratified estuarine front at the mouth of the Fraser River (British Columbia, Canada) are calculated using a control volume approach. The calculations are based on field data obtained from shipboard instrumentation, specifically velocity data from a ship mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP), and salinity data from a towed conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) unit. The results allow for the calculation of vertical velocities in the water column, and the total vertical transport of salt and momentum. The vertical turbulent transport quantities (inline equation, inline equation) can then be estimated as the difference between the total transport and the advective transport. Estimated production is on the order of 10−3 m2 s−3, yielding a value of ɛ(νN2)−1 on the order of 104. This rate of TKE production is at the upper limit of reported values for ocean and coastal environments. Flux Richardson numbers in this highly energetic system generally range from 0.15 to 0.2, with most mixing occurring at gradient Richardson numbers slightly less than inline equation. These values compare favorably with other values in the literature that are associated with turbulence observations from regimes characterized by scales several orders of magnitude smaller than are present in the Fraser River.
  • Article
    Response to channel deepening of the salinity intrusion, estuarine circulation, and stratification in an urbanized estuary
    (American Geophysical Union, 2019-06-07) Ralston, David K. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell
    Modifications for navigation since the late 1800s have increased channel depth (H) in the lower Hudson River estuary by 10–30%, and at the mouth the depth has more than doubled. Observations along the lower estuary show that both salinity and stratification have increased over the past century. Model results comparing predredging bathymetry from the 1860s with modern conditions indicate an increase in the salinity intrusion of about 30%, which is roughly consistent with the H5/3 scaling expected from theory for salt flux dominated by steady exchange. While modifications including a recent deepening project have been concentrated near the mouth, the changes increase salinity and threaten drinking water supplies more than 100 km landward. The deepening has not changed the responses to river discharge (Qr) of the salinity intrusion (~Qr−1/3) or mean stratification (Qr2/3). Surprisingly, the increase in salinity intrusion with channel deepening results in almost no change in the estuarine circulation. This contrasts sharply with local scaling based on local dynamics of an H2 dependence, but it is consistent with a steady state salt balance that allows scaling of the estuarine circulation based on external forcing factors and is independent of depth. In contrast, the observed and modeled increases in stratification are opposite of expectations from the steady state balance, which could be due to reduction in mixing with loss of shallow subtidal regions. Overall, the mean shift in estuarine parameter space due to channel deepening has been modest compared with the monthly‐to‐seasonal variability due to tides and river discharge.
  • Preprint
    Observations and modeling of wave-supported sediment gravity flows on the Po prodelta and comparison to prior observations from the Eel shelf
    ( 2006-11-14) Traykovski, Peter A. ; Wiberg, Patricia L. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell
    A mooring and tripod array was deployed from the fall of 2002 through the spring of 2003 on the Po prodelta to measure sediment transport processes associated with sediment delivered from the Po River. Observations on the prodelta revealed wave-supported gravity flows of high concentration mud suspensions that are dynamically and kinematically similar to those observed on the Eel shelf (Traykovski et al., 2000). Due to the dynamic similarity between the two sites, a simple one-dimensional across-shelf model with the appropriate bottom boundary condition was used to examine fluxes associated with this transport mechanism at both locations. To calculate the sediment concentrations associated with the wave-dominated and wave-current resuspension, a bottom boundary condition using a reference concentration was combined with an “active layer” formulation to limit the amount of sediment in suspension. Whereas the wave-supported gravity flow mechanism dominates the transport on the Eel shelf, on the Po prodelta flux due to this mechanism is equal in magnitude to transport due to wave resuspension and wind-forced mean currents in cross-shore direction. Southward transport due to wave resuspension and wind forced mean currents move an order of magnitude more sediment along-shore than the downslope flux associated wave-supported gravity flows.
  • Article
    Tidal and spring-neap variations in horizontal dispersion in a partially mixed estuary
    (American Geophysical Union, 2008-07-18) Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Chant, Robert J. ; Houghton, R.
    A sequence of dye releases in the Hudson River estuary provide a quantitative assessment of horizontal dispersion in a partially mixed estuary. Dye was released in the bottom boundary layer on 4 separate occasions, with varying tidal phase and spring-neap conditions. The three-dimensional distribution of dye was monitored by two vessels with in situ, profiling fluorometers. The three-dimensional spreading of the dye was estimated by calculating the time derivative of the second moment of the dye in the along-estuary, cross-estuary and vertical directions. The average along-estuary dispersion rate was about 100 m2/s, but maximum rates up to 700 m2/s occurred during ebb tides, and minimum rates occurred during flood. Vertical shear dispersion was the principal mechanism during neap tides, but transverse shear dispersion became more important during springs. Suppression of mixing across the pycnocline limited the vertical extent of the patch in all but the maximum spring-tide conditions, with vertical diffusivities in the pycnocline estimated at 4 × 10−5 m2/s during neaps. The limited vertical extent of the dye patch limited the dispersion of the dye relative to the overall estuarine dispersion rate, which was an order of magnitude greater than that of the dye. This study indicates that the effective dispersion of waterborne material in an estuary depends sensitively on its vertical distribution as well as the phase of the spring-neap cycle.
  • Article
    On nonhydrostatic coastal model simulations of shear instabilities in a stratified shear flow at high Reynolds number
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-04-11) Zhou, Zheyu ; Yu, Xiao ; Hsu, Tian-Jian ; Shi, Fengyan ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Kirby, James T.
    The nonhydrostatic surface and terrain-following coastal model NHWAVE is utilized to simulate a continually forced stratified shear flow in a straight channel, which is a generic problem to test the existing nonhydrostatic coastal models' capability in resolving shear instabilities in the field scale. The resolved shear instabilities in the shear layer has a Reynolds number of about 1.4 × 106, which is comparable to field observed value. Using the standard Smagorinsky closure with a grid size close to the Ozmidov length scale, simulation results show that the resolved energy cascade exceeds 1 order of magnitude and the evolution and turbulent mixing characteristics are predicted well. Two different approaches are used to estimate the turbulent dissipation rate, namely using the resolved turbulent energy spectrum and the parameterized subgrid turbulent dissipation rate, and the predicted results provide the upper and lower bounds that encompass the measured values. Model results show significantly higher turbulence in braids of shear instabilities, which is similar to field observations while both the subgrid turbulent dissipation rate and resolved vorticity field can be used as surrogates for measured high acoustic backscatter signals. Simulation results also reveal that the surface velocity divergence/convergence is an effective identifier for the front of the density current and the shear instabilities. To guide future numerical studies in more realistic domains, an evaluation on the effects of different grid resolutions and subgrid viscosity on the resolved flow field and subgrid dissipation rate are discussed.
  • Article
    Reversed lateral circulation in a sharp estuarine bend with weak stratification
    (American Meteorological Society, 2019-06-13) Kranenburg, Wouter M. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Garcia, Adrian Mikhail P. ; Ralston, David K.
    Although the hydrodynamics of river meanders are well studied, the influence of curvature on flow in estuaries, with alternating tidal flow and varying water levels and salinity gradients, is less well understood. This paper describes a field study on curvature effects in a narrow salt-marsh creek with sharp bends. The key observations, obtained during times of negligible stratification, are 1) distinct differences between secondary flow during ebb and flood, with helical circulation as in rivers during ebb and a reversed circulation during flood, and 2) maximum (ebb and flood) streamwise velocities near the inside of the bend, unlike typical river bend flow. The streamwise velocity structure is explained by the lack of a distinct point bar and the relatively deep cross section in the estuary, which means that curvature-induced inward momentum redistribution is not overcome by outward redistribution by frictional and topographic effects. Through differential advection of the along-estuary salinity gradient, the laterally sheared streamwise velocity generates lateral salinity differences, with the saltiest water near the inside during flood. The resulting lateral baroclinic pressure gradient force enhances the standard helical circulation during ebb but counteracts it during flood. This first leads to a reversed secondary circulation during flood in the outer part of the cross section, which triggers a positive feedback mechanism by bringing slower-moving water from the outside inward along the surface. This leads to a reversal of the vertical shear in the streamwise flow, and therefore in the centrifugal force, which further enhances the reversed secondary circulation.
  • Article
    Broadband acoustic quantification of stratified turbulence
    (Acoustical Society of America, 2013-07) Lavery, Andone C. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Scully, Malcolm E.
    High-frequency broadband acoustic scattering techniques have enabled the remote, high-resolution imaging and quantification of highly salt-stratified turbulence in an estuary. Turbulent salinity spectra in the stratified shear layer have been measured acoustically and by in situ turbulence sensors. The acoustic frequencies used span 120–600 kHz, which, for the highly stratified and dynamic estuarine environment, correspond to wavenumbers in the viscous-convective subrange (500–2500 m−1). The acoustically measured spectral levels are in close agreement with spectral levels measured with closely co-located micro-conductivity probes. The acoustically measured spectral shapes allow discrimination between scattering dominated by turbulent salinity microstructure and suspended sediments or swim-bladdered fish, the two primary sources of scattering observed in the estuary in addition to turbulent salinity microstructure. The direct comparison of salinity spectra inferred acoustically and by the in situ turbulence sensors provides a test of both the acoustic scattering model and the quantitative skill of acoustical remote sensing of turbulence dissipation in a strongly sheared and salt-stratified estuary.
  • Article
    Large-eddy simulation of the tidal-cycle variations of an estuarine boundary layer
    (American Geophysical Union, 2010-08-03) Li, Ming ; Radhakrishnan, Senthilkumaran ; Piomelli, Ugo ; Geyer, W. Rockwell
    The estuarine boundary layer affected by a horizontal density gradient exhibits temporal evolution over a tidal cycle, in a manner similar to the diurnal cycle of the ocean surface mixed layer. A large eddy simulation (LES) model is developed to investigate the physics controlling the growth of the boundary layer during the flood tide and restratification during the ebb tide. Turbulent kinetic energy, momentum and salt fluxes, bottom stress, and energy dissipation rates calculated from the LES model all show a strong flood-ebb asymmetry. Analysis of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) budget shows a primary balance between shear production and dissipation in the well-mixed boundary layer over the tidal cycle. However, TKE transport term is found to be important across the edge of the boundary layer during the flood tide so turbulent energy generated in the bottom boundary layer can be transferred to the stratified pycnocline region. Tidal straining leads to a small and weakly convective region inside the boundary layer during the flood tide but the strain-induced buoyancy flux does not make a significant contribution to the turbulence generation. Additional LES runs are conducted by switching off the baroclinic pressure gradient term in the momentum equation and the tidal straining term in the salinity equation to show that the baroclinic pressure gradient is the main mechanism responsible for generating the flood-ebb mixing asymmetry.
  • Article
    Rapid sediment deposition and fine-scale strata formation in the Hudson estuary
    (American Geophysical Union, 2004-04-21) Traykovski, Peter A. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Sommerfield, Christopher K.
    A 9 month time series of tripod-mounted optical and acoustic measurements of sediment concentration and bed elevation was used to examine depositional processes in relationship to hydrodynamic variables in the Hudson River estuary. A series of cores was also taken directly under and adjacent to the acoustic measurements to examine the relation between the depositional processes and the resulting fine-scale stratigraphy. The measurements reveal that deposition occurs as a result of sediment flux convergence behind a salinity front and that the accumulation rates are sufficient to deposit up to 25 cm of new high-porosity sediment in a single ebb-tidal phase. Subsequent dewatering and erosion reduces the thickness of the initial deposit to several centimeters. These depositional events were only observed on spring tides. Ten depositional events during two spring tidal cycles produced a seasonal deposit of 18 cm, consistent with estimates of seasonal deposition from cores. A proxy for near-bed suspended grain size variations was estimated from the combined acoustic and optical measurements, implying that the erosional processes resuspend only the finer-grained sediments, thus leaving behind silt and very fine grained sand beds. The thickness of the deposited homogenous clayey silt beds, and the vertical separation between beds interlaminated with silt and very fine sand, are roughly consistent with the acoustic measurements of changes in bed elevations during deposition and erosion. The variability in individual bed thickness is the result of variations of processes over an individual tidal cycle and is not a product of variations over the spring neap fortnightly timescale.
  • Article
    Oblique internal hydraulic jumps at a stratified estuary mouth
    (American Meteorological Society, 2017-01-04) Honegger, David A. ; Haller, Merrick C. ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Farquharson, Gordon
    Observations and analyses of two tidally recurring, oblique, internal hydraulic jumps at a stratified estuary mouth (Columbia River, Oregon/Washington) are presented. These hydraulic features have not previously been studied due to the challenges of both horizontally resolving the sharp gradients and temporally resolving their evolution in numerical models and traditional observation platforms. The jumps, both of which recurred during ebb, formed adjacent to two engineered lateral channel constrictions and were identified in marine radar image time series. Jump occurrence was corroborated by (i) a collocated sharp gradient in the surface currents measured via airborne along-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar and (ii) the transition from supercritical to subcritical flow in the cross-jump direction via shipborne velocity and density measurements. Using a two-layer approximation, observed jump angles at both lateral constrictions are shown to lie within the theoretical bounds given by the critical internal long-wave (Froude) angle and the arrested maximum-amplitude internal bore angle, respectively. Also, intratidal and intertidal variability of the jump angles are shown to be consistent with that expected from the two-layer model, applied to varying stratification and current speed over a range of tidal and river discharge conditions. Intratidal variability of the upchannel jump angle is similar under all observed conditions, whereas the downchannel jump angle shows an additional association with stratification and ebb velocity during the low discharge periods. The observations additionally indicate that the upchannel jump achieves a stable position that is collocated with a similarly oblique bathymetric slope.
  • Article
    Sediment transport and deposition on a river-dominated tidal flat : an idealized model study
    (American Geophysical Union, 2010-10-16) Chen, Shih-Nan ; Geyer, W. Rockwell ; Sherwood, Christopher R. ; Ralston, David K.
    A 3-D hydrodynamic model is used to investigate how different size classes of river-derived sediment are transported, exported and trapped on an idealized, river-dominated tidal flat. The model is composed of a river channel flanked by sloping tidal flats, a configuration motivated by the intertidal region of the Skagit River mouth in Washington State, United States. It is forced by mixed tides and a pulse of freshwater and sediment with various settling velocities. In this system, the river not only influences stratification but also contributes a significant cross-shore transport. As a result, the bottom stress is strongly ebb-dominated in the channel because of the seaward advance of strong river flow as the tidal flats drain during ebbs. Sediment deposition patterns and mass budgets are sensitive to settling velocity. The lateral sediment spreading scales with an advective distance (settling time multiplied by lateral flow speed), thereby confining the fast settling sediment classes in the channel. Residual sediment transport is landward on the flats, because of settling lag, but is strongly seaward in the channel. The seaward transport mainly occurs during big ebbs and is controlled by a length scale ratio Ld/XWL, where Ld is a cross-shore advective distance (settling time multiplied by river outlet velocity), and XWL is the immersed cross-shore length of the intertidal zone. Sediment trapping requires Ld/XWL < 1, leading to more trapping for the faster settling classes. Sensitivity studies show that including stratification and reducing tidal range both favor sediment trapping, whereas varying channel geometries and asymmetry of tides has relatively small impacts. Implications of the modeling results on the south Skagit intertidal region are discussed.