Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 459–469 | Cite as

Variations of tidally driven three-layer residual circulation in fjords

  • Arnoldo Valle-Levinson
  • Mario A. Caceres
  • Oscar Pizarro
Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Physics of Estuaries and Coastal Seas 2012

Abstract

Residual, or tidally averaged, circulation in fjords is generally assumed to be density driven and two layered. This circulation consists of a thin surface layer of outflow and a thick bottom layer of sluggish inflow. However, development of different vertical structures in residual circulation in fjords can arise from wind, remote, and tidal forcing that may modify the two-layer circulation. Particularly, theoretical results of tidal residual flows in homogeneous semienclosed basins indicate that their vertical structure is determined by the dynamical depth of the system. This dynamical depth can be considered as the ratio between the water column depth and the depth of frictional influence in an oscillatory flow (inverse of Stokes number). When the frictional depth occupies the entire water column, the tidal residual flow is one layered as in shallow basins. But when the frictional depth is only a small portion of the water column (>6 times smaller), the tidal residual is three layered. In relatively deep fjords (say deeper than 100 m), where frictional depths typically occupy a small portion of the water column, the tidal residual flow is expected to be three layered. Ample observational evidence presented here shows a three-layered exchange flow structure in fjords. On the basis of observational and theoretical evidence, it is proposed that the water exchange structure in deep fjords (more than six frictional layers deep, or inverse Stokes number >6) is tidally driven and is three layered. The tidally driven three-layer structure of residual flows could be regarded in some cases as the fundamental structure. However, this structure will only be observed sporadically as it will be masked by wind forcing, remote forcing from the ocean, and freshwater pulses.

Keywords

Fjord circulation Three-layer flows Tidal residual flow 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnoldo Valle-Levinson
    • 1
  • Mario A. Caceres
    • 2
  • Oscar Pizarro
    • 3
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias del MarUniversidad de ValparaísoViña del MarChile
  3. 3.Universidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile

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