Effects of waves on coastal water dispersion in a small estuarine bay

Type Article
Date 2014-01
Language English
Author(s) Delpey Matthias1, Ardhuin FabriceORCID2, Otheguy P.1, Jouon Aymeric1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Lyonnaise Eaux, Ctr Rivages Pro Tech, FR-64210 Bidart, France.
2 : IFREMER, Lab Oceanog Spatiale, Plouzane, France.
Source Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans (0148-0027) (Amer Geophysical Union), 2014-01 , Vol. 119 , N. 1 , P. 70-86
DOI 10.1002/2013JC009466
WOS© Times Cited 25
Keyword(s) nearshore dispersion, wave-current interactions, river plume, numerical modeling
Abstract A three-dimensional wave-current model is used to investigate wave-induced circulations in a small estuarine bay and its impact on freshwater exchanges with the inner shelf, related to stratified river plume dispersion. Modeled salinity fields exhibit a lower salinity surface layer due to river outflows, with typical depth of 1 m inside the bay. The asymmetric wave forcing on the bay circulation, related to the local bathymetry, significantly impacts the river plumes. It is found that the transport initiated in the surf zone by the longshore current can oppose and thus reduce the primary outflow of freshwater through the bay inlets. Using the model to examine a high river runoff event occurring during a high-energy wave episode, waves are found to induce a 24 h delay in freshwater evacuation. At the end of the runoff event, waves have reduced the freshwater flux to the ocean by a factor 5, and the total freshwater volume inside the bay is increased by 40%. According to the model, and for this event, the effect of the surf zone current on the bay flushing is larger than that of the wind. The freshwater balance is sensitive to incident wave conditions. Maximum freshwater retention is found for intermediate offshore wave heights 1 m < Hs < 2 m. For higher-energy waves, the increase in the longshore current reduces the retention, which is two times lower for Hs = 4 m than for Hs = 2 m.
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