Frontogenesis, mixing, and stratification in estuarine meanders

Speaker: Tong Bo
Institution: UCLA
Location: 7124A
Date: November 30, 2023
Time: 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm


Estuaries are crucial connectors between rivers and the ocean. Many estuaries have meandering channels. This study combines idealized modeling and observational analysis to explore the impact of meanders on estuarine salinity distribution and stratification. The flow-curvature-induced secondary circulation interacts with stratified estuarine flow, leading to the generation of salinity fronts in meanders. Enhanced vertical mixing occurs at these fronts, resulting in decreased salinity stratification in meandering estuaries compared to straight-channel estuaries. This study underscores the importance of topography-induced flow processes for estuarine salinity dynamics, with consequences for the transport of sediment, chemicals, and biota.