Atmospheric Influence Over the Residence Time in the Bahia Blanca Estuary, Argentina

Abstract

An integrated hydrodynamic and Lagrangian transport model was used to estimate the average residence time in the Bahia Blanca estuary (Argentina) for wind conditions of different seasons. The Bahia Blanca estuary consists on an elongated system of meandering bays surrounded by tidal flats and salt marshes where the tide is the principal forcing. Modelling results show that both the tidal amplitude and wind forcing affect significantly the residence time, since river discharge is very low. An increase in the wind intensity along the bays main axis causes a considerable increase in the intensity of the residual current and thus a modification of the average residence time over the model domain. In all seasons, the overall residence time ranges from 12 to 77 days. The values allow establishing a hydrodynamic performance for each of the estuary sectors over each seasonal period. These findings provide useful information to quantify the transport processes on the different sectors of the Bahia Blanca estuary necessary to understand temporal and spatial variations.

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Acknowledgements

The Ecomanage project was financed by the Sixth Framework Programme FP6) of the European Commission (contract n: INCO-CT-2004-003715). The authors wish to thank the Consorcio de Gestión del Puerto de Bahia Blanca (CGPBB) who provide the weather and tidal time series, the Aguas Bonaerenses Sociedad Anónima (ABSA) water utility for supplying the river flow data and the Navy Hydrographical Service (SHN) for the currents data. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of our manuscript and their many insightful comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Jorge O. Pierini.

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Highlights

A Lagrangian transport model was implemented for the Bahia Blanca estuary (Argentina).

Hydrodynamics and residence time were estimated for the Bahia Blanca Estuary

The influence of several climatic seasons on residence time was examined

Bahia Blanca bays are interconnected and exchange water following different routes.

The importance of the bio-physical processes that exist over the area was determined

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Pierini, J.O., Campuzano, F.J., Leitão, P.C. et al. Atmospheric Influence Over the Residence Time in the Bahia Blanca Estuary, Argentina. Thalassas 35, 275–286 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41208-018-0120-z

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Keywords

  • Residence time
  • Bahia Blanca estuary
  • Lagrangian transport
  • Hydrodynamic model
  • Mohid numerical model