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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2017-07-28
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2017. 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: Oceans 122 (2017): 692–712, doi:10.1002/2016JC011738.
    Description: The Connecticut River is a tidal salt wedge estuary, where advection of sharp salinity gradients through channel constrictions and over steeply sloping bathymetry leads to spatially heterogeneous stratification and mixing. A 3-D unstructured grid finite-volume hydrodynamic model (FVCOM) was evaluated against shipboard and moored observations, and mixing by both the turbulent closure and numerical diffusion were calculated. Excessive numerical mixing in regions with strong velocities, sharp salinity gradients, and steep bathymetry reduced model skill for salinity. Model calibration was improved by optimizing both the bottom roughness (z0), based on comparison with the barotropic tidal propagation, and the mixing threshold in the turbulence closure (steady state Richardson number, Rist), based on comparison with salinity. Whereas a large body of evidence supports a value of Rist ∼ 0.25, model skill for salinity improved with Rist ∼ 0.1. With Rist = 0.25, numerical mixing contributed about 1/2 the total mixing, while with Rist = 0.10 it accounted for ∼2/3, but salinity structure was more accurately reproduced. The combined contributions of numerical and turbulent mixing were quantitatively consistent with high-resolution measurements of turbulent mixing. A coarser grid had increased numerical mixing, requiring further reductions in turbulent mixing and greater bed friction to optimize skill. The optimal Rist for the fine grid case was closer to 0.25 than for the coarse grid, suggesting that additional grid refinement might correspond with Rist approaching the theoretical limit. Numerical mixing is rarely assessed in realistic models, but comparisons with high-resolution observations in this study suggest it is an important factor.
    Description: NSF Grant Number: OCE 0926427; ONR Grant Number: N00014-08-1-1115
    Description: 2017-07-28
    Keywords: Estuary ; Salt wedge ; Numerical mixing ; Turbulence closure ; Numerical model
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-12-12
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2017. 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: Oceans 122 (2017): 4743–4760, doi:10.1002/2016JC012455.
    Description: Estuarine mixing is often intensified in regions where topographic forcing leads to hydraulic transitions. Observations in the salt-wedge estuary of the Connecticut River indicate that intense mixing occurs during the ebb tide in regions of supercritical flow that is accelerated by lateral expansion of the channel. The zones of mixing are readily identifiable based on echo-sounding images of large-amplitude shear instabilities. The gradient Richardson number (Ri) averaged across the mixing layer decreases to a value very close to 0.25 during most of the active mixing phase. The along-estuary variation in internal Froude number and interface elevation are roughly consistent with a steady, inviscid, two-layer hydraulic representation, and the fit is improved when a parameterization for interfacial stress is included. The analysis indicates that the mixing results from lateral straining of the shear layer, and that the rapid development of instabilities maintains the overall flow near the mixing threshold value of Ri = 0.25, even with continuous, active mixing. The entrainment coefficient can be estimated from salt conservation within the interfacial layer, based on the finding that the mixing maintains Ri = 0.25. This approach leads to a scaling estimate for the interfacial mixing coefficient based on the lateral spreading rate and the aspect ratio of the flow, yielding estimates of turbulent dissipation within the pycnocline that are consistent with estimates based on turbulence-resolving measurements.
    Description: NSF Grant Number: OCE 0926427; Devonshire Scholars program
    Description: 2017-12-12
    Keywords: Internal hydraulics ; Mixing ; Gradient Richardson number ; Estuary
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Article
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