Estuarine exchange flow is related to mixing through the salinity variance budget
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KeywordCoastal flows; Diapycnal mixing; Ocean dynamics; Streamflow; Diagnostics; Isopycnal coordinates
The relationship between net mixing and the estuarine exchange flow may be quantified using a salinity variance budget. Here “mixing” is defined as the rate of destruction of volume-integrated salinity variance, and the exchange flow is quantified using the total exchange flow. These concepts are explored using an idealized 3D model estuary. It is shown that in steady state (e.g., averaging over the spring–neap cycle) the volume-integrated mixing is approximately given by Mixing ≅ SinSoutQr, where Sin and Sout are the representative salinities of in- and outflowing layers at the mouth and Qr is the river volume flux. This relationship provides an extension of the familiar Knudsen relation, in which the exchange flow is diagnosed based on knowledge of these same three quantities, quantitatively linking mixing to the exchange flow.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 1375-1384, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0266.1.