Columbia Bay, Alaska: an 'upside down' estuary

Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
By: , and 


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Circulation and water properties within Columbia Bay, Alaska, are dominated by the effects of Columbia Glacier at the head of the Bay. The basin between the glacier terminus and the terminal moraine (sill depth of about 22 m) responds as an 'upside down' estuary with the subglacial discharge of freshwater entering at the bottom of the basin. The intense vertical mixing caused by the bouyant plume of freshwater creates a homogeneous water mass that exchanges with the far-field water through either a two- or a three-layer flow. In general, the glacier acts as a large heat sink and creates a water mass which is cooler than that in fjords without tidewater glaciers. The predicted retreat of Columbia Glacier would create a 40 km long fjord that has characteristics in common with other fjords in Prince William Sound. ?? 1988.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Columbia Bay, Alaska: an 'upside down' estuary
Series title Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume 26
Issue 6
Year Published 1988
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
First page 607
Last page 617