Sediment dispersal in the Adriatic Sea was evaluated using coupled three-dimensional circulation and sediment transport models, representing conditions from autumn 2002 through spring 2003. The calculations accounted for fluvial sources, resuspension by waves and currents, and suspended transport. Sediment fluxes peaked during southwestward Bora wind conditions that produced energetic waves and strengthened the Western Adriatic Coastal Current. Transport along the western Adriatic continental shelf was nearly always to the south, except during brief periods when northward Sirocco winds reduced the coastal current. Much of the modeled fluvial sediment deposition was near river mouths, such as the Po subaqueous delta. Nearly all Po sediment remained in the northern Adriatic. Material from rivers that drain the Apennine Mountains traveled farther before deposition than Po sediment, because it was modeled with a lower settling velocity. Fluvial sediment delivered to areas with high average bed shear stress was more highly dispersed than material delivered to more quiescent areas. Modeled depositional patterns were similar to observed patterns that have developed over longer timescales. Specifically, modeled Po sediment accumulation was thickest near the river mouth with a very thin deposit extending to the northeast, consistent with patterns of modern sediment texture in the northern Adriatic. Sediment resuspended from the bed and delivered by Apennine Rivers was preferentially deposited on the northern side of the Gargano Peninsula, in the location of thick Holocene accumulation. Deposition here was highest during Bora winds when convergences in current velocities and off-shelf flux enhanced delivery of material to the midshelf. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Sediment dispersal in the northwestern Adriatic Sea