Tidal and tidally averaged circulation characteristics of Suisun Bay, California

Water Resources Research
By:  and 



Availability of extensive field data permitted realistic calibration and validation of a hydrodynamic model of tidal circulation and salt transport for Suisun Bay, California. Suisun Bay is a partially mixed embayment of northern San Francisco Bay located just seaward of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The model employs a variant of an alternating direction implicit finite-difference method to solve the hydrodynamic equations and an Eulerian-Lagrangian method to solve the salt transport equation. An upwind formulation of the advective acceleration terms of the momentum equations was employed to avoid oscillations in the tidally averaged velocity field produced by central spatial differencing of these terms. Simulation results of tidal circulation and salt transport demonstrate that tides and the complex bathymetry determine the patterns of tidal velocities and that net changes in the salinity distribution over a few tidal cycles are small despite large changes during each tidal cycle. Computations of tidally averaged circulation suggest that baroclinic and wind effects are important influences on tidally averaged circulation during low freshwater-inflow conditions. Exclusion of baroclinic effects would lead to overestimation of freshwater inflow by several hundred m3/s for a fixed set of model boundary conditions. Likewise, exclusion of wind would cause an underestimation of flux rates between shoals and channels by 70–100%.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Tidal and tidally averaged circulation characteristics of Suisun Bay, California
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/WR023i001p00143
Volume 23
Issue 1
Year Published 1987
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Pacific Regional Director's Office, San Francisco Bay-Delta
Description 13 p.
First page 143
Last page 155
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Suisun Bay
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N