On tide-induced Lagrangian residual current and residual transport: 2. Residual transport with application in south San Francisco Bay, California

Water Resources Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

The transports of solutes and other tracers are fundamental to estuarine processes. The apparent transport mechanisms are convection by tidal current and current-induced shear effect dispersion for processes which take place in a time period of the order of a tidal cycle. However, as emphasis is shifted toward the effects of intertidal processes, the net transport is mainly determined by tide-induced residual circulation and by residual circulation due to other processes. The commonly used intertidal conservation equation takes the form of a convection-dispersion equation in which the convective velocity is the Eulerian residual current, and the dispersion terms are often referred to as the phase effect dispersion or, sometimes, as the “tidal dispersion.” The presence of these dispersion terms is merely the result of a Fickian type hypothesis. Since the actual processes are not Fickian, thus a Fickian hypothesis obscures the physical significance of this equation. Recent research results on residual circulation have suggested that long-term transport phenomena are closely related to the Lagrangian residual current or the Lagrangian residual transport. In this paper a new formulation of an intertidal conservation equation is presented and examined in detail. In a weakly nonlinear tidal estuary the resultant intertidal transport equation also takes the form of a convection-dispersion equation without the ad hoc introduction of phase effect dispersion in a form of dispersion tensor. The convective velocity in the resultant equation is the first-order Lagrangian residual current (the sum of the Eulerian residual current and the Stokes drift). The remaining dispersion terms are important only in higher-order solutions; they are due to shear effect dispersion and turbulent mixing. There exists a dispersion boundary layer adjacent to shoreline boundaries. An order of magnitude estimate of the properties in the dispersion boundary layer is given. The present treatment of intertidal transport processes is illustrated by an analytical solution for an amphidromic system and by a numerical application in South San Francisco Bay, California. The present formulation reveals that the mechanism for long-term transport of solutes is mainly convection due to the Lagrangian residual current in the interior of a tidal estuary. This result also points out the weakness in the tidal dispersion formulation, and explains the large variability of the observed values for tidal dispersion coefficients. Further research on properties of the dispersion boundary layer is needed.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title On tide-induced Lagrangian residual current and residual transport: 2. Residual transport with application in south San Francisco Bay, California
Series title Water Resources Research
DOI 10.1029/WR022i012p01635
Volume 22
Issue 12
Year Published 1986
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) San Francisco Bay-Delta, Pacific Regional Director's Office
Description 14 p.
First page 1635
Last page 1646
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial San Francisco Bay
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N