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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2017-11-22
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2008. 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 113 (2008): C07023, doi:10.1029/2007JC004644.
    Description: A sequence of dye releases in the Hudson River estuary provide a quantitative assessment of horizontal dispersion in a partially mixed estuary. Dye was released in the bottom boundary layer on 4 separate occasions, with varying tidal phase and spring-neap conditions. The three-dimensional distribution of dye was monitored by two vessels with in situ, profiling fluorometers. The three-dimensional spreading of the dye was estimated by calculating the time derivative of the second moment of the dye in the along-estuary, cross-estuary and vertical directions. The average along-estuary dispersion rate was about 100 m2/s, but maximum rates up to 700 m2/s occurred during ebb tides, and minimum rates occurred during flood. Vertical shear dispersion was the principal mechanism during neap tides, but transverse shear dispersion became more important during springs. Suppression of mixing across the pycnocline limited the vertical extent of the patch in all but the maximum spring-tide conditions, with vertical diffusivities in the pycnocline estimated at 4 × 10−5 m2/s during neaps. The limited vertical extent of the dye patch limited the dispersion of the dye relative to the overall estuarine dispersion rate, which was an order of magnitude greater than that of the dye. This study indicates that the effective dispersion of waterborne material in an estuary depends sensitively on its vertical distribution as well as the phase of the spring-neap cycle.
    Description: This research was supported by National Science Foundation Grant OCE04-52054 (W. Geyer), OCE00-99310 (R. Houghton), and OCE00-95913 (R. Chant).
    Keywords: Dispersion ; Mixing ; Spring-neap variations
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2005. 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 110 (2005): C09025, doi:10.1029/2004JC002727.
    Description: A large flood of the Eel River, northern California, created a thick sediment deposit between water depths of 50 and 70 m in January 1997. The freshwater plume, however, confined sediment delivery to water depths shallower than 30 m. Mechanisms proposed to explain the apparent cross-shelf transport include dispersal by oceanographic currents, resuspension by energetic waves, and gravitationally forced transport of a thin layer of fluidized mud. Field observations indicate that these processes were all active but cannot determine their relative significance or whether these mechanisms alone explain the location, size, and timing of deposition. Approximately 30% of the sediment delivered by the Eel River is accounted for in the midshelf mud bed and inner shelf, but the fate of the remaining 70% is uncertain. A three-dimensional, hydrodynamic model was used to examine potential mechanisms of sediment transport on the Eel River shelf. The model includes suspended sediment transport and was modified to account for a thin, near-bed layer of fluidized mud. It was used to simulate flood dispersal on the Eel River shelf, to compare the relative importance of transport within the near-bed fluid mud layer to suspended sediment transport, and to evaluate sediment budgets for floods. Settling properties of fine-grained sediment, both within the flood plume and the fluid mud layer, critically impact depositional patterns. To a lesser degree, wind-driven ocean currents influence the volume of sediment that escapes the shelf, and wave magnitude affects the cross-shelf location of flood deposits. Though dilute suspension accounts for a large fraction of total flux, cross-shelf transport by gravitational forcing appears necessary to produce a midshelf mud deposit similar in volume, location, and timing to those seen offshore of the Eel River.
    Description: The Office of Naval Research’s Coastal Geoscience Program supported this through program N0014-01-1-008.
    Keywords: Flood sediment dispersal ; Northern California shelf ; Sediment transport
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2004. 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 109 (2004): F02004, doi:10.1029/2003JF000096.
    Description: A 9 month time series of tripod-mounted optical and acoustic measurements of sediment concentration and bed elevation was used to examine depositional processes in relationship to hydrodynamic variables in the Hudson River estuary. A series of cores was also taken directly under and adjacent to the acoustic measurements to examine the relation between the depositional processes and the resulting fine-scale stratigraphy. The measurements reveal that deposition occurs as a result of sediment flux convergence behind a salinity front and that the accumulation rates are sufficient to deposit up to 25 cm of new high-porosity sediment in a single ebb-tidal phase. Subsequent dewatering and erosion reduces the thickness of the initial deposit to several centimeters. These depositional events were only observed on spring tides. Ten depositional events during two spring tidal cycles produced a seasonal deposit of 18 cm, consistent with estimates of seasonal deposition from cores. A proxy for near-bed suspended grain size variations was estimated from the combined acoustic and optical measurements, implying that the erosional processes resuspend only the finer-grained sediments, thus leaving behind silt and very fine grained sand beds. The thickness of the deposited homogenous clayey silt beds, and the vertical separation between beds interlaminated with silt and very fine sand, are roughly consistent with the acoustic measurements of changes in bed elevations during deposition and erosion. The variability in individual bed thickness is the result of variations of processes over an individual tidal cycle and is not a product of variations over the spring neap fortnightly timescale.
    Description: The authors would like to acknowledge the Hudson River Foundation, who provided funding for this work under grant 009/00A.
    Keywords: Sediment transport ; Estuarine processes ; Fluid mud
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-04-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Wave generation, dissipation, and disequilibrium in an embayment with complex bathymetry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 123(11), (2018): 7856-7876, doi:10.1029/2018JC014381.
    Description: Heterogeneous, sharply varying bathymetry is common in estuaries and embayments, and complex interactions between the bathymetry and wave processes fundamentally alter the distribution of wave energy. The mechanisms that control the generation and dissipation of wind waves in an embayment with heterogeneous, sharply varying bathymetry are evaluated with an observational and numerical study of the Delaware Estuary. Waves in the lower bay depend on both local wind forcing and remote wave forcing from offshore, but elsewhere in the estuary waves are controlled by the local winds and the response of the wavefield to bathymetric variability. Differences in the wavefield with wind direction highlight the impacts of heterogeneous bathymetry and limited fetch. Under the typical winter northwest wind conditions waves are fetch‐limited in the middle estuary and reach equilibrium with local water depth only in the lower bay. During southerly wind conditions typical of storms, wave energy is near equilibrium in the lower bay, and midestuary waves are attenuated by the combination of whitecapping and bottom friction, particularly over the steep, longitudinal shoals. Although the energy dissipation due to bottom friction is generally small relative to whitecapping, it becomes significant where the waves shoal abruptly due to steep bottom topography. In contrast, directional spreading keeps wave heights in the main channel significantly less than local equilibrium. The wave disequilibrium in the deep navigational channel explains why the marked increase in depth by dredging of the modern channel has had little impact on wave conditions.
    Description: Funding was provided by National Science Foundation Coastal SEES: Toward Sustainable Urban Estuaries in the Anthropocene (OCE 1325136) and Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST 107‐2611‐M‐006‐004). We thank James Kirby, Fengyan Shi, and the two anonymous reviewers for their careful reading of our manuscript and their insightful comments. We thank Tracy Quirk for providing wave measurements in Bombay Hook, DE and Stow Creek, NJ. We thank Katie Pijanowski for compiling historical and modern bathymetric data for the estuary. Data supporting this study are posted to Zenodo (http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1433055).
    Description: 2019-04-04
    Keywords: estuarine hydrodynamics ; wave energy ; equilibrium wave ; anthropogenic impact
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2010. 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 115 (2010): C08003, doi:10.1029/2009JC005702.
    Description: The estuarine boundary layer affected by a horizontal density gradient exhibits temporal evolution over a tidal cycle, in a manner similar to the diurnal cycle of the ocean surface mixed layer. A large eddy simulation (LES) model is developed to investigate the physics controlling the growth of the boundary layer during the flood tide and restratification during the ebb tide. Turbulent kinetic energy, momentum and salt fluxes, bottom stress, and energy dissipation rates calculated from the LES model all show a strong flood-ebb asymmetry. Analysis of the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) budget shows a primary balance between shear production and dissipation in the well-mixed boundary layer over the tidal cycle. However, TKE transport term is found to be important across the edge of the boundary layer during the flood tide so turbulent energy generated in the bottom boundary layer can be transferred to the stratified pycnocline region. Tidal straining leads to a small and weakly convective region inside the boundary layer during the flood tide but the strain-induced buoyancy flux does not make a significant contribution to the turbulence generation. Additional LES runs are conducted by switching off the baroclinic pressure gradient term in the momentum equation and the tidal straining term in the salinity equation to show that the baroclinic pressure gradient is the main mechanism responsible for generating the flood-ebb mixing asymmetry.
    Description: This work is supported by grants OCE-0451699 (M.L.), OCE-0452380 (U.P. and S.R.), and OCE-0451740 (W.R.G.) from the National Science Foundation.
    Keywords: Estuarine mixing ; Large Eddy Simulations ; Tidal straining
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 37 (2010): L22607, doi:10.1029/2010GL045272.
    Description: Shear instability is the dominant mechanism for converting fluid motion to mixing in the stratified ocean and atmosphere. The transition to turbulence has been well characterized in laboratory settings and numerical simulations at moderate Reynolds number—it involves “rolling up”, i.e., overturning of the density structure within the cores of the instabilities. In contrast, measurements in an energetic estuarine shear zone reveal that the mixing induced by shear instability at high Reynolds number does not primarily occur by overturning in the cores; rather it results from secondary shear instabilities within the zones of intensified shear separating the cores. This regime is not likely to be observed in the relatively low Reynolds number flows of the laboratory or in direct numerical simulations, but it is likely a common occurrence in the ocean and atmosphere.
    Description: This research was supported by NSF grant OCE‐0824871 and ONR grant N00014‐0810495.
    Keywords: Stratification ; Turbulence ; Mixing
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2012. 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 117 (2012): C10013, doi:10.1029/2012JC008124.
    Description: Analyses of field observations and numerical model results have identified that sediment transport in the Hudson River estuary is laterally segregated between channel and shoals, features frontal trapping at multiple locations along the estuary, and varies significantly over the spring-neap tidal cycle. Lateral gradients in depth, and therefore baroclinic pressure gradient and stratification, control the lateral distribution of sediment transport. Within the saline estuary, sediment fluxes are strongly landward in the channel and seaward on the shoals. At multiple locations, bottom salinity fronts form at bathymetric transitions in width or depth. Sediment convergences near the fronts create local maxima in suspended-sediment concentration and deposition, providing a general mechanism for creation of secondary estuarine turbidity maxima at bathymetric transitions. The lateral bathymetry also affects the spring-neap cycle of sediment suspension and deposition. In regions with broad, shallow shoals, the shoals are erosional and the channel is depositional during neap tides, with the opposite pattern during spring tides. Narrower, deeper shoals are depositional during neaps and erosional during springs. In each case, the lateral transfer is from regions of higher to lower bed stress, and depends on the elevation of the pycnocline relative to the bed. Collectively, the results indicate that lateral and along-channel gradients in bathymetry and thus stratification, bed stress, and sediment flux lead to an unsteady, heterogeneous distribution of sediment transport and trapping along the estuary rather than trapping solely at a turbidity maximum at the limit of the salinity intrusion.
    Description: This research was funded by a grant from the Hudson River Foundation (#002/07A). D.R. was partially supported by the Office of Naval Research (N00014-08-1-0846).
    Description: 2013-04-17
    Keywords: Estuarine turbidity maximum ; Lateral sediment distribution ; Salinity fronts ; Sediment flux ; Sediment trapping ; Stratification
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-06-11
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2019. 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 124 (2019): 196-211, doi:10.1029/2018JC014313.
    Description: Since the late nineteenth century, channel depths have more than doubled in parts of New York Harbor and the tidal Hudson River, wetlands have been reclaimed and navigational channels widened, and river flow has been regulated. To quantify the effects of these modifications, observations and numerical simulations using historical and modern bathymetry are used to analyze changes in the barotropic dynamics. Model results and water level records for Albany (1868 to present) and New York Harbor (1844 to present) recovered from archives show that the tidal amplitude has more than doubled near the head of tides, whereas increases in the lower estuary have been slight (〈10%). Channel deepening has reduced the effective drag in the upper tidal river, shifting the system from hyposynchronous (tide decaying landward) to hypersynchronous (tide amplifying). Similarly, modeling shows that coastal storm effects propagate farther landward, with a 20% increase in amplitude for a major event. In contrast, the decrease in friction with channel deepening has lowered the tidally averaged water level during discharge events, more than compensating for increased surge amplitude. Combined with river regulation that reduced peak discharges, the overall risk of extreme water levels in the upper tidal river decreased after channel construction, reducing the water level for the 10‐year recurrence interval event by almost 3 m. Mean water level decreased sharply with channel modifications around 1930, and subsequent decadal variability has depended both on river discharge and sea level rise. Channel construction has only slightly altered tidal and storm surge amplitudes in the lower estuary.
    Description: Funding for D. K. R., W. R. G., and C. K. S. was provided by NSF Coastal SEES awards OCE-1325136 and OCE-1325102. Funding for S.T. and H. Z. was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (award W1927 N-14-2-0015), and NSF (Career Award 1455350). Data supporting this study are posted to Zenodo (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1298636).
    Description: 2019-06-11
    Keywords: barotropic tides ; flood frequency ; storm surge ; dredging ; estuary ; tidal river
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2010. 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 115 (2010): C10040, doi:10.1029/2010JC006248.
    Description: A 3-D hydrodynamic model is used to investigate how different size classes of river-derived sediment are transported, exported and trapped on an idealized, river-dominated tidal flat. The model is composed of a river channel flanked by sloping tidal flats, a configuration motivated by the intertidal region of the Skagit River mouth in Washington State, United States. It is forced by mixed tides and a pulse of freshwater and sediment with various settling velocities. In this system, the river not only influences stratification but also contributes a significant cross-shore transport. As a result, the bottom stress is strongly ebb-dominated in the channel because of the seaward advance of strong river flow as the tidal flats drain during ebbs. Sediment deposition patterns and mass budgets are sensitive to settling velocity. The lateral sediment spreading scales with an advective distance (settling time multiplied by lateral flow speed), thereby confining the fast settling sediment classes in the channel. Residual sediment transport is landward on the flats, because of settling lag, but is strongly seaward in the channel. The seaward transport mainly occurs during big ebbs and is controlled by a length scale ratio Ld/XWL, where Ld is a cross-shore advective distance (settling time multiplied by river outlet velocity), and XWL is the immersed cross-shore length of the intertidal zone. Sediment trapping requires Ld/XWL 〈 1, leading to more trapping for the faster settling classes. Sensitivity studies show that including stratification and reducing tidal range both favor sediment trapping, whereas varying channel geometries and asymmetry of tides has relatively small impacts. Implications of the modeling results on the south Skagit intertidal region are discussed.
    Description: SNC is supported by a WHOI/USGS postdoctoral scholarship. The field program on the Skagit intertidal region is supported by an ONR grant N00014-08-1-0790.
    Keywords: Sediment trapping ; Tidal flat
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2017-10-12
    Description: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2005. 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 110 (2005): C05001, doi:10.1029/2004JC002691.
    Description: Numerical simulations of the Hudson River estuary using a terrain-following, three-dimensional model (Regional Ocean Modeling System, ROMS) are compared with an extensive set of timeseries and spatially resolved measurements over a 43-day period with large variations in tidal forcing and river discharge. The model is particularly effective at reproducing the observed temporal variations in both the salinity and current structure, including tidal, spring-neap, and river discharge induced variability. Large observed variations in stratification between neap and spring tides are captured qualitatively and quantitatively by the model. The observed structure and variations of the longitudinal salinity gradient are also well reproduced. The most notable discrepancy between the model and the data is in the vertical salinity structure. While the surface-to-bottom salinity difference is well reproduced, the stratification in the model tends to extend all the way to the water surface, whereas the observations indicate a distinct pycnocline and a surface mixed layer. Because the southern boundary condition is located near the mouth the estuary, the salinity within the domain is particularly sensitive to the specification of salinity at the boundary. A boundary condition for the horizontal salinity gradient, based on the local value of salinity, is developed to incorporate physical processes beyond the open boundary not resolved by the model. Model results are sensitive to the specification of the bottom roughness length and vertical stability functions, insofar as they influence the intensity of vertical mixing. The results only varied slightly between different turbulence closure methods of k-ε, k-ω, and k-kl.
    Description: We gratefully acknowledge support from the U.S. Geological Survey Mendenhall Post-doctoral Research Program for support of J. C. Warner. J. A. Lerczak and W. R. Geyer were supported by the Hudson River Foundation.
    Keywords: Estuary ; Model skill assessment ; Hudson River
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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