Skip to main content

Controls on monthly estuarine residuals: Eulerian circulation and elevation

An Erratum to this article was published on 27 April 2014

Abstract

The Dee Estuary, at the NW English–Welsh border, is a major asset, supporting: one of the largest wildlife habitats in Europe, industrial importance along the Welsh coastline and residential and recreational usage along the English coast. Understanding of the residual elevation is important to determine the total water levels that inundate intertidal banks, especially during storms. Whereas, improved knowledge of the 3D residual circulation is important in determining particle transport pathways to manage water quality and morphological change. Using mooring data obtained in February–March 2008, a 3D modelling system has been previously validated against in situ salinity, velocity, elevation and wave observations, to investigate the barotropic–baroclinic wave interaction within this estuary under full realistic forcing. The system consists of a coupled circulation-wave-turbulence model (POLCOMS-WAM-GOTM). Using this modelling system the contribution of different processes and their interactions to the monthly residuals in both elevation and circulation is now assessed. By studying a tidally dominated estuary under wave influence, it is found that baroclinicity induced by a weak river flow has greater importance in generating a residual circulation than the waves, even at the estuary mouth. Although the monthly residual circulation is dominated by tidal and baroclinic processes, the residual estuarine surface elevation is primarily influenced by the seasonal external forcing to the region, with secondary influence from the local wind conditions. During storm conditions, 3D radiation stress becomes important for both elevation and circulation at the event scale but is found here to have little impact over monthly time scales.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Fig. 16
Fig. 17

References

  1. Amoudry LO, Souza AJ, Brown, JM, Ramirez-Mendoza R (2014) Modelling-based assessment of suspended sediment dynamics in a hypertidal estuary. Ocean Dynamics, PECS special issue: Physics of Estuaries and Coastal Seas, New York, USA, 12-16th August 2012 (this issue). doi:10.1007/s10236-014-0695-8

  2. Bolaños R, Souza AJ (2010) Measuring hydrodynamics and sediment transport processes in the Dee Estuary. Earth Syst Sci Data 2:157–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bolaños R, Brown JM, Souza A (2011) Three dimensional circulation modeling in the Dee Estuary. J Coast Res SI 64:1457–1461

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bolaños R, Brown JM, Amoudry LO, Souza A (2013) Tidal, riverine and wind influences on the circulation of a macrotidal estuary. J Phys Oceanogr 41(1):29–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Brown JM, Bolaños R, Souza A (2014) Process contribution to the time-varying residual circulation in tidally dominated estuarine environments. Coasts and Estuaries (in press). doi:10.1007/s12237-013-9745-6

  6. Brown JM, Souza AJ, Wolf J (2010) An investigation of recent decadal-scale storm events in the eastern Irish Sea. J Geophys Res (Oceans) 115(C05018):12pp

    Google Scholar 

  7. Brown JM, Bolaños R, Howarth MJ, Souza A (2012a) Extracting sea level residual in tidally dominated estuarine environments. Ocean Dyn 62(7):969–982

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Brown JM, Wolf J, Souza AJ (2012b) Future extreme events in Liverpool Bay: model projections from 1960–2100. Clim Chang 11(2):365–391

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Cáceres M, Valle-Levinson A, Atkinson L (2003) Observations of cross-channel structure of flow in an energetic tidal channel. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(C4), 3114, 10 pp

    Google Scholar 

  10. Chen S-N, Stanford LP, Ralston DK (2009) Lateral circulation and sediment transport driven by axial winds in an idealized, partially mixed estuary. J Geophys Res 114(C12006):18pp

    Google Scholar 

  11. Cheng P, de Swart HE, Arnoldo V-L (2013) Role of asymmetric tidal mixing in the subtidal dynamics of narrow estuaries. J Geophys Res – Oceans 118(5):2623–2639

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Deleersnijder E, Beckers J-M (1992) On the use of the σ-coordinate system in regions of large bathymetric variations. J Mar Syst 3:381–390

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Giddings SN, Monismith SG, Fong DA, Stacey MT (2013) Using depth-normalized coordinates to examine mass transport residual circulation in estuaries with large tidal amplitude relative to mean depth. Journal of Physical Oceanography. doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0201.1 (in press)

  14. Holt JT, James ID (2001) An s coordinate density evolving model of the northwest European continental shelf: 1, model description and density structure. J Geophys Res 106(C7):14,015–14,034

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Holt J, Proctor R (2008) The seasonal circulation and volume transport on the northwest European continental shelf: A fine-resolution model study, Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, C06021, 20pp

  16. Horsburgh KJ, Wilson C (2007) Tide-surge interaction and its role in the distribution of surge residuals in the North Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research 112(C08003). doi:10.1029/2006JC004033

  17. Jones JE, Davies AM (1998) Storm surge computations for the Irish Sea using a three-dimensional numerical model including wave-current interaction. Cont Shelf Res 18(2):201–251

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Kasai A, Hill E, Fujiwara T, Simpson JH (2000) Effect of the Earth’s rotation on the circulation in regions of freshwater influence. J Geophys Res 105(C7):16,961–16,969

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Komen GJ, Cavaleri L, Donelan M, Hasselmann K, Hasselmann S, Janssen PAEM (1994) Dynamics and modelling of ocean waves. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 532 pp

    Book  Google Scholar 

  20. Li C, O’Donnell J (2005) The effect of channel length on the residual circulation in tidally dominated channels. J Phys Oceanogr 35(10):1826–1840

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Li C, Weeks E, Rego JL (2009) In situ measurements of saltwater flux through tidal passes of Lake Pontchartrain estuary by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in September 2008. Geophys Res Lett 36(L19609):5pp. doi:10.1029/2009GL039802

    Google Scholar 

  22. Li C, Weeks E, Blanchard BW (2010) Storm surge induced flux through multiple tidal passes of Lake Pontchartrain estuary during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Estuar, Coast Shelf Sci 87(4):517–525

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Mellor G (2005) Some consequences of the three-dimensional current and surface wave equations. J Phys Oceanogr 35(11):2291–2298

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Monbaliu J, Padilla-Hernández R, Hargreaves JC, Carretero-Albiach JC, Luo W, Sclavo M, Günther H (2000) The spectral wave model WAM adapted for applications with high spatial resolution. Coast Eng 41(1–3):41–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Polton JT, Palmer MR, Howarth MJ (2011) Physical and dynamical oceanography of Liverpool Bay. Ocean Dyn 61(9):1421–1439

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Proudman J (1957) Oscillations of tide and surge in an estuary of finite length. J Fluid Mech 2:371–382

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Ramirez-Mendoza R., Souza AJ, Amoudry LO (2014) Modelling flocculation in a hypertidal estuary. Ocean Dynamics, PECS special issue: Physics of Estuaries and Coastal Seas, New York, USA, 12–16th August 2012, 64:301–313

  28. Rossiter JR (1961) Interactions between tide and surge in the Themes. Geophys J R Astron Soc 6(1):29–53

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Scully ME, Friedrichs C, Brubaker J (2005) Control of estuarine stratification and mixing by wind-induced straining of the estuarine density field. Estuar Coasts 28(3):321–326

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Simpson JH, Brown J, Matthews J, Allen G (1990) Tidal straining, density currents, and stirring in the control of estuarine stratification. Estuaries 13(2):125–132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Souza AJ (2013) On the use of the Stokes number to explain frictional tidal dynamics and water column structure in shelf seas. Ocean Sci 9(2):391–398

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Umlauf L, Burchard H (2005) Second-order turbulence closure models for geophysical boundary layers. A review of recent work. Cont Shelf Res 25(7–8):795–827

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Valle-Levinson A, Reyes C, Sanay R (2003) Effects of bathymetry, friction and rotation on estuary-ocean exchange. J Phys Oceanogr 33(11):2375–2393

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Verspecht F, Rippeth TP, Howarth MJ, Souza AJ, Simpson JH, Burchard H (2009) Processes impacting on stratification in a region of freshwater influence: application to Liverpool Bay. Journal of Geophysical Research (Oceans), 114 (C11022). 12 pp

  35. Willmott CJ, Ackleson SG, Davis RE, Feddema JJ, Klink KM, Legates DR, O’Donnell J, Rowe CM (1985) Statistics for the evaluation and comparison of models. J Geophys Res 90(C5):8995–9005

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Winant CD (2008) Three-dimensional residual tidal circulation in an elongated, rotating basin. J Phys Oceanogr 38(6):1278–1295

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the reviewers of this manuscript for their help in improving the content of this manuscript. This research has been funded by NERC through National Capability funding to NOC and the projects FORMOST (NERC grant NE/E015026/1), FIELD_AC (EU FP7 programme grant 242284) and iCOASST (NERC grant NE/J005444/1). Partial support was also provided by the MERMAID EU (FP7-OCEAN.2011-1) project. Jane Williams (NOC) is thanked for providing the operational surge model output and meteorological (wind and pressure) data, and Clare O’Neill (NOC, COBS) is thanked for providing the offshore temperature and salinity fields to the Irish Sea and supplementing the meteorological forcing with air temperature, humidity and cloud cover to enable full atmospheric forcing.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jennifer M. Brown.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Physics of Estuaries and Coastal Seas 2012

Responsible Editor: Rockwell Geyer

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brown, J.M., Bolaños, R. & Souza, A.J. Controls on monthly estuarine residuals: Eulerian circulation and elevation. Ocean Dynamics 64, 587–609 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10236-014-0698-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • POLCOMS-WAM-GOTM model
  • Dee Estuary
  • Hypertidal
  • Baroclinicity
  • Residual circulation
  • Residual elevation
  • Estuarine circulation
  • Storm surge