Proposed Abstract Title

Horizontal circulation in the Strait of Georgia

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Salish Sea Estuarine Circulation

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Quantitative estimates of the spatial mean estuarine circulation in the Salish Sea, over monthly and seasonal time scales are known reasonably well using a box-model view of the circulation. In this view, Strait of Georgia deep inflow waters have a northward speed of a few cm/s, and outflow currents near the surface have southward speeds of about 5 cm/s. However, actual measurements of the large-scale deep currents find subtidal speeds of more than 30 cm/s in some places, and current in the "wrong" direction in others. Long-term observations of currents from the ONC/VENUS nodes, as well as shipborne transects and drifter tracks, show that inflow waters hug the southeastern side of the Strait, often as a narrow boundary current which carries a volume flux considerably greater than that of the estuarine inflow. A broad return flow in the central and western Strait compensates for this. Near the surface, on the other hand, winds blow the surface water around and this dominates short-term predictability.

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Horizontal circulation in the Strait of Georgia

2016SSEC

Quantitative estimates of the spatial mean estuarine circulation in the Salish Sea, over monthly and seasonal time scales are known reasonably well using a box-model view of the circulation. In this view, Strait of Georgia deep inflow waters have a northward speed of a few cm/s, and outflow currents near the surface have southward speeds of about 5 cm/s. However, actual measurements of the large-scale deep currents find subtidal speeds of more than 30 cm/s in some places, and current in the "wrong" direction in others. Long-term observations of currents from the ONC/VENUS nodes, as well as shipborne transects and drifter tracks, show that inflow waters hug the southeastern side of the Strait, often as a narrow boundary current which carries a volume flux considerably greater than that of the estuarine inflow. A broad return flow in the central and western Strait compensates for this. Near the surface, on the other hand, winds blow the surface water around and this dominates short-term predictability.