Winter-time circulation and sediment transport in the Hudson Shelf Valley

Continental Shelf Research

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DOI: 10.1016/S0278-4343(03)00025-6



The Hudson Shelf Valley is a bathymetric low that extends across the continental shelf offshore of New York and New Jersey. From December 1999 to April 2000 a field experiment was carried out to investigate the transport of sediment in the shelf and valley system. Near-bed tripods and water-column moorings were deployed at water depths from 38 to 75 m in the axis of the shelf valley and at about 26 m on the adjacent shelves offshore of New Jersey and Long Island, New York. These measured suspended sediment concentrations, current velocities, waves, and water column properties. This paper analyzes observations made during December 1999 and January 2000, and presents the first direct near-bed measurements of suspended sediment concentration and sediment flux from the region. Sediment transport within the Hudson Shelf Valley was coherent over tens of kilometers, and usually aligned with the axis of the shelf valley. Down-valley (off-shore) transport was associated with energetic waves, winds from the east, moderate current velocities (5-10 cm/s), and sea level setup at Sandy Hook, NJ. Up-valley (shoreward) transport occurred frequently, and was associated with winds from the west, low wave energy, high current velocities (20-40 cm/s), and sea level set-down at the coast. Within the shelf valley, net sediment flux (the product of near-bed concentration and velocity) was directed shoreward, up the axis of the valley. Current velocities and suspended sediment fluxes on the New York and New Jersey continental shelves were lower than within the shelf valley, and exhibited greater variability in alignment. Longer term meteorological data indicate that wind, setup, and wave conditions during the study period were more conducive to up-valley transport than seasonal data suggest as average. To relate the observed up-valley sediment flux to observed accumulation of contaminants within the Hudson Shelf Valley requires consideration of transport over longer timescales than those observed here, and methods that account for the region's complex bathymetry, sediment distribution, and circulation. ?? 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Winter-time circulation and sediment transport in the Hudson Shelf Valley
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Continental Shelf Research
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Continental Shelf Research
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