Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 118–131 | Cite as

On the Flushing of Tampa Bay

  • Jun Zhu
  • Robert H. Weisberg
  • Lianyuan Zheng
  • Shuzong Han


A high-resolution, three-dimensional coastal ocean circulation model is used to estimate the bulk residence time distributions for the entirety of Tampa Bay and for five of its sub-regions using an Eulerian passive tracer technique. With a resolution as high as 20 m, the model domain includes all of the important mass conveyances by the channels and inlets, plus the impediments to flow by bridge causeways and natural constrictions. The non-tidal circulation is found to be the primary agent for the flushing of Tampa Bay. Tides alone have a minor effect. Exceptions pertain to within a tidal excursion from the mouth of the bay and sub-regions with multiple inlets, where differential flows related to tidal phase differences aid in flushing. By resolving the main shipping channels, we also address the effect of channel deepening and widening on the flushing of Tampa Bay. Bulk residence time is found to decrease due to an increase in the non-tidal circulation.


Estuary flushing Residence time Passive tracer Channel alteration effects Tampa Bay 



This work derives from apportion of Mr. J. Zhu’s PhD dissertation. Mr. Zhu was supported by a China Scholarship Council award that facilitated is residence at the University of South Florida. Our work benefited from the Southeastern Universities Research Association led U.S. IOOS Model Testbed (NOAA award #s: NA10NOS0120063 and NA11NOS0120141) through which we were able to conduct some of the necessary model runs on the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Ranger managed by the Texas Advanced Computing Center, University of Texas at Austin, TX. Our work also benefitted from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative via the Deep-C Consortium led by Dr. E. Chassignet and coordinated through Florida State University. We thank C. Chen (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth) for graciously sharing the FVCOM code. J. Donovan and P. Smith assisted with computational matters at USF. No other external funds were available for circulation studies of Tampa Bay.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert H. Weisberg
    • 2
  • Lianyuan Zheng
    • 2
  • Shuzong Han
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Physical and Environmental OceanographyOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.College of Marine ScienceUniversity of South FloridaSt. PetersburgUSA

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