Complex mean circulation over the inner shelf south of Martha's Vineyard revealed by observations and a high-resolution model


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dc.contributor.author Ganju, Neil K.
dc.contributor.author Lentz, Steven J.
dc.contributor.author Kirincich, Anthony R.
dc.contributor.author Farrar, J. Thomas
dc.date.accessioned 2011-11-21T20:12:38Z
dc.date.available 2012-04-29T08:33:18Z
dc.date.issued 2011-10-29
dc.identifier.citation Journal of Geophysical Research 116 (2011): C10036 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1912/4892
dc.description Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2011. 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 116 (2011): C10036, doi:10.1029/2011JC007035. en_US
dc.description.abstract Inner-shelf circulation is governed by the interaction between tides, baroclinic forcing, winds, waves, and frictional losses; the mean circulation ultimately governs exchange between the coast and ocean. In some cases, oscillatory tidal currents interact with bathymetric features to generate a tidally rectified flow. Recent observational and modeling efforts in an overlapping domain centered on the Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) provided an opportunity to investigate the spatial and temporal complexity of circulation on the inner shelf. ADCP and surface radar observations revealed a mean circulation pattern that was highly variable in the alongshore and cross-shore directions. Nested modeling incrementally improved representation of the mean circulation as grid resolution increased and indicated tidal rectification as the generation mechanism of a counter-clockwise gyre near the MVCO. The loss of model skill with decreasing resolution is attributed to insufficient representation of the bathymetric gradients (Δh/h), which is important for representing nonlinear interactions between currents and bathymetry. The modeled momentum balance was characterized by large spatial variability of the pressure gradient and horizontal advection terms over short distances, suggesting that observed inner-shelf momentum balances may be confounded. Given the available observational and modeling data, this work defines the spatially variable mean circulation and its formation mechanism—tidal rectification—and illustrates the importance of model resolution for resolving circulation and constituent exchange near the coast. The results of this study have implications for future observational and modeling studies near the MVCO and other inner-shelf locations with alongshore bathymetric variability. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Funding was provided through the Office of Naval Research Ripples DRI, U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program, and National Science Foundation. en_US
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher American Geophysical Union en_US
dc.relation.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007035
dc.subject Coastal and nearshore circulation en_US
dc.subject Grid resolution en_US
dc.subject Nesting en_US
dc.subject Numerical modeling en_US
dc.subject Tidal rectification en_US
dc.title Complex mean circulation over the inner shelf south of Martha's Vineyard revealed by observations and a high-resolution model en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1029/2011JC007035

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