Tidal flow asymmetry owing to inertia and waves on an unstratified, shallow ebb shoal
Wargula, Anna E.
Traykovski, Peter A.
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Observations of water levels, waves, currents, and bathymetry collected for a month at an unstratified tidal inlet with a shallow (1 to 2 m deep) ebb shoal are used to evaluate the asymmetry in flows and dynamics owing to inertia and waves. Along‐channel currents ranged from −1.5 to 0.6 m/s (positive inland) inside the main (3 to 5 m deep) channel crossing the ebb shoal. Net discharge is negligible, and ebb dominance of the channel flows is owing to inflow and outflow asymmetries near the inlet mouth. Offshore wave heights ranged from 0.5 to 2.5 m. During moderate to large wave events (offshore significant wave heights >1.2 m), wave forcing enhanced onshore mass flux near the shoal edge and inside the inlet, leading to reduced ebb flow dominance. Momentum balances estimated with the water depths, currents, and waves simulated with a quasi 3‐D numerical model reproduce the momentum balances estimated from the observations reasonably well. Both observations and simulations suggest that ebb‐dominant bottom stresses are balanced by the ebb‐dominant pressure gradient and the tidally asymmetric inertia, which is a sink (source) of momentum on flood (ebb). Simulations with and without waves suggest that waves drive local and nonlocal changes in the water levels and flows. Specifically, breaking waves at the offshore edge of the ebb shoal induce setup and partially block the ebb jet (local effects), which leads to a more onshore‐directed mass flux, changes to the advection across the ebb shoal, and increased water levels inside the inlet mouth (nonlocal effects).
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2018. 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 123 (2018): 6779-6799, doi:10.1029/2017JC013625.
Suggested CitationJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 123 (2018): 6779-6799
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