Hydrodynamic and suspended-solids concentration measurements in Suisun Bay, California, 1995

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001-4086

, , and



Sea level, current velocity, water temperature, salinity (computed from conductivity and temperature), and suspended-solids data collected in Suisun Bay, California, from May 30, 1995, through October 27, 1995, by the U.S. Geological Survey are documented in this report. Data were collected concurrently at 21 sites. Various parameters were measured at each site. Velocity-profile data were collected at 6 sites, single-point velocity measurements were made at 9 sites, salinity data were collected at 20 sites, and suspended-solids concentrations were measured at 10 sites. Sea-level and velocity data are presented in three forms; harmonic analysis results; time-series plots (sea level, current speed, and current direction versus time); and time-series plots of low-pass-filtered time series. Temperature, salinity, and suspended-solids data are presented as plots of raw and low-pass-filtered time series.The velocity and salinity data presented in this report document a period when the residual current patterns and salt field were transitioning from a freshwater-inflow-dominated condition towards a quasi steady-state summer condition when density-driven circulation and tidal nonlinearities became relatively more important as long-term transport mechanisms. Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta outflow was high prior to and during this study, so the tidally averaged salinities were abnormally low for this time of year. For example, the tidally averaged salinities varied from 0-12 at Martinez, the western border of Suisun Bay, to a maximum of 2 at Mallard Island, the eastern border of Suisun Bay. Even though salinities increased overall in Suisun Bay during the study period, the near-bed residual currents primarily were directed seaward. Therefore, salinity intrusion through Suisun Bay towards the Delta primarily was accomplished in the absence of the tidally averaged, two-layer flow known as gravitational circulation where, by definition, the net currents are landward at the bed. The Folsom Dam spillway gate failure on July 17, 1995, was analyzed to determine the effect on the hydrodynamics of Suisun Bay. The peak flow of the American River reached roughly 1,000 cubic meters per second as a result of the failure, which is relatively small. This was roughly 15 percent of the approximate 7,000 cubic meters per second tidal flows that occur daily in Suisun Bay and was likely attenuated greatly. Based on analysis of tidally averaged near-bed salinity and depth-averaged currents after the failure, the effect was essentially nonexistent and is indistinguishable from the natural variability.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrodynamic and suspended-solids concentration measurements in Suisun Bay, California, 1995
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
221 p.