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Open AccessArticle

Lateral Circulation in a Partially Stratified Tidal Inlet

Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, College of the Coast and Environment, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2018, 6(4), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse6040159
Received: 30 September 2018 / Revised: 27 November 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
Using a three-dimensional, hydrostatic, primitive-equation ocean model, this study investigates the dynamics of lateral circulation in a partially stratified tidal inlet, the Barataria Pass in the Gulf of Mexico, over a 25.6 h diurnal tidal cycle. Model performance is assessed against observational data. During flood tide, the lateral circulation exhibits the characteristics similar to those induced by differential advection, i.e., lateral flow consists of two counter-rotating cells and is convergent at the surface. The analysis of momentum balance indicates that, in addition to the pressure gradient and vertical stress divergence, nonlinear advection and horizontal stress divergence are also important contributors. During ebb phase, the lateral circulation is mostly toward the right shoal (when looking into the estuary) for the whole water column and persisting for almost the whole period. The surface divergence suggested by the differential advection mechanism lasts for a very short period, if it ever exists. The main momentum balance across most of the transect during ebb is between the along-channel advection of cross-channel momentum and pressure gradient. The sectional averaged lateral velocity magnitude during ebb is comparable to that during flood, which is different from the idealized numerical experiment result. View Full-Text
Keywords: estuarine modeling; lateral circulation; tidal currents; momentum balance estuarine modeling; lateral circulation; tidal currents; momentum balance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cui, L.; Huang, H.; Li, C.; Justic, D. Lateral Circulation in a Partially Stratified Tidal Inlet. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2018, 6, 159.

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