Event Title

Horizontal circulation in the Strait of Georgia

Presentation Abstract

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.

Session Title

Salish Sea Estuarine Circulation

Conference Track

Habitat

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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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.