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The structure of the salinity field in northern San Francisco Bay and how it is affected by freshwater flow are discussed. Two datasets are examined: the first is 23 years of daily salinity data taken by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation along the axis of northern San Francisco Bay: the second is a set of salinity transects taken by the U.S. Geological Survey between 1988 and 1993. Central to this paper is a measure of salinity intrusion. X2: the distance from the Golden Gate Bridge to where the bottom salinity is 2 psu. Using X2 to scale distance, the authors find that for most flow conditions, the mean salinity distribution of the estuary is nearly self-similar with a salinity gradient in the center 70% of the region...
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Onshore volume transport (Stokes drift) due to surface gravity waves propagating toward the beach can result in a compensating Eulerian offshore flow in the surf zone referred to as undertow. Observed offshore flows indicate that wave-driven undertow extends well offshore of the surf zone, over the inner shelves of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Theoretical estimates of the wave-driven offshore transport from linear wave theory and observed wave characteristics account for 50% or more of the observed offshore transport variance in water depths between 5 and 12 m, and reproduce the observed dependence on wave height and water depth.During weak winds, wave-driven cross-shelf velocity profiles...
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Characterization of wave climate by bulk wave parameters is insufficient for many coastal studies, including those focused on assessing coastal hazards and long-term wave climate influences on coastal evolution. This issue is particularly relevant for studies using statistical downscaling of atmospheric fields to local wave conditions, which are often multimodal in large ocean basins (e.g. the Pacific). Swell may be generated in vastly different wave generation regions, yielding complex wave spectra that are inadequately represented by a single set of bulk wave parameters. Furthermore, the relationship between atmospheric systems and local wave conditions is complicated by variations in arrival time of wave groups...
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Observations of turbulent stresses and mean velocities over an entire spring–neap cycle are used to evaluate the dynamics of tidally averaged flows in a partially stratified estuarine channel. In a depth-averaged sense, the net flow in this channel is up estuary due to interaction of tidal forcing with the geometry of the larger basin. The depth-variable tidally averaged flow has the form of an estuarine exchange flow (downstream at the surface, upstream at depth) and varies in response to the neap–spring transition. The weakening of the tidally averaged exchange during the spring tides appears to be a result of decreased stratification on the tidal time scale rather than changes in bed stress. The dynamics of the...
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The authors present a field study of estuarine turbulence in which profiles of Reynolds stresses were directly measured using an ADCP throughout a 25-h tidal day. The dataset that is discussed quantifies turbulent mixing for a water column in northern San Francisco Bay that experiences a sequence of states that includes a weak ebb and flood that are stratified, followed by a strong, and eventually unstratified, ebb and flood. These measurements show that energetic turbulence is confined to a bottom mixed layer by the overlying stratification. Examination of individual Reynolds stress profiles along with profiles of Richardson number and turbulent Froude number shows that the water column can be divided into regions...
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Several low-pass, digital filters are examined for their ability to remove tidal Period Variations from a time-series of water surface elevation for San Francisco Bay. The most efficient filter is the one which is applied to the Fourier coefficients of the transformed data, and the filtered data recovered through an inverse transform. The ability of the filters to remove the tidal components increased in the following order: 1) cosine-Lanczos filter, 2) cosine-Lanczos squared filter; 3) Godin filter; and 4) a transform fitter. The Godin fitter is not sufficiently sharp to prevent severe attenuation of 2–3 day variations in surface elevation resulting from weather events.
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In order to examine physical process in the subtidal time range, sea-level and current meter data for south San Francisco Bay (South Bay) were filtered using a low-pass digital filter to remove tidal period variations. and then subjected to an empirical orthogonal function analysis. For the sea-level data, there is one dominant empirical mode that is correlated with nonlocal coastal forcing. A small amount of the variance is associated with local wind setup. For the current meter data, there are two dominant empirical modes that correlate with local wind forcing and tidal forcing over the spring-neap cycle. In general, South Bay is dominated by coastal forcing on sea level during all seasons, and dominated by wind...
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The amplitude of the frequency response function between coastal alongshore wind stress and adjusted sea level anomalies along the west coast of the United States increases linearly as a function of the logarithm (log10) of the period for time scales up to at least 60, and possibly 100, days. The amplitude of the frequency response function increases even more rapidly at longer periods out to at least 5 yr. At the shortest periods, the amplitude of the frequency response function is small because sea level is forced only by the local component of the wind field. The regional wind field, which controls the wind-forced response in sea level for periods between 20 and 100 days, not only has much broader spatial scales...
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The performance of the wave model WAVEWATCH III under a very strong, category 5, tropical cyclone wind forcing is investigated with different drag coefficient parameterizations and ocean current inputs. The model results are compared with field observations of the surface wave spectra from an airborne scanning radar altimeter, National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) time series, and satellite altimeter measurements in Hurricane Ivan (2004). The results suggest that the model with the original drag coefficient parameterization tends to overestimate the significant wave height and the dominant wavelength and produces a wave spectrum with narrower directional spreading. When an improved drag parameterization is introduced...