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Open AccessLetter

Validation of Streaklines as Recorders of Synoptic Flow Direction in a Deltaic Setting

1
Department of Geosciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
2
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010148
Received: 16 November 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 25 December 2019 / Published: 2 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Estuarine, Lagoon and Delta Environments)
Knowledge of the flow patterns within distributary systems is key for understanding deltaic hydro- and morpho-dynamics, yet synoptic measurements of flow fields remain virtually nonexistent. As a means of overcoming this problem, a small number of studies have used biogenic surface films as synoptic flow tracers, under the assumption that biofilm streaklines are tangent to the local flow direction. Here we rigorously test this assumption and show that, despite flow patterns that change severely in space and time (over a range >270°), streaklines are relatively accurate synoptic flow tracers for the Wax Lake Delta, in Louisiana. When the incoming discharge was greater than 2400 m3/s with stable or falling tides, the streakline-derived flow direction departed from near bed flow direction measurements of 22.8° (root mean square). When the discharge was greater than 2400 m3/s and the tides were rising greater than 0.03 m/hr, they were accurate within 28.0°. Under conditions of discharge less than 2400 m3/s and tidal change less than a positive 0.03 m/hr, they were accurate within 33.3°, while during low discharge and rising tides they were accurate within 58.9°. Accuracy varied with distance from the delta, with proximal sites having greater precision. Our results demonstrate that a streakline-derived flow direction can characterize the spatiotemporal variability in the flow directions, but that the accuracy is significantly influenced by the hydrodynamic conditions and location within the network. View Full-Text
Keywords: surface films; tracking; coastal hydraulics; remote sensing; hydrodynamics surface films; tracking; coastal hydraulics; remote sensing; hydrodynamics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cathcart, C.; Shaw, J.B.; Amos, M. Validation of Streaklines as Recorders of Synoptic Flow Direction in a Deltaic Setting. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 148. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010148

AMA Style

Cathcart C, Shaw JB, Amos M. Validation of Streaklines as Recorders of Synoptic Flow Direction in a Deltaic Setting. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(1):148. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010148

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cathcart, Christopher; Shaw, John B.; Amos, Micheal. 2020. "Validation of Streaklines as Recorders of Synoptic Flow Direction in a Deltaic Setting" Remote Sens. 12, no. 1: 148. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010148

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