Variations in Sacramento-San Joaquin River discharge into northern San Francisco Bay causes shifts in location of the bottom density current null zone. At a river flow of 2000 m3/s this null zone is approximately 20 km from the seaward end of the estuary, whereas at a river flow of 100 m3/s it is 80 km from the seaward end; the corresponding distances of salinity penetration are approximately 40 and 90 km from the seaward end. Seaward of the null zone, during low (summer) river discharge conditions, the inward-flowing bottom density current appears typically strong (5-15 cm/s) relative to the outward-flowing river current (river discharge per unit cross-channel area) of <2 cm/s. Landward from this null zone the average river current increases with decreasing cross-channel area. This circulation implies that during the summer water within the null zone has the longest average advective replacement time relative to water seaward or landward of the null zone. ?? 1975.
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Location of the non-tidal current null zone in northern San Francisco Bay