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Tides in a System of Connected Estuaries

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  • 1 Civil and Coastal Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
  • | 2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California
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Abstract

The spatial structure of tidal amplitude and phase in a simplified system of connected estuaries, an idealized version of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, is analyzed with a linear analytical model. This model includes friction, the earth’s rotation, and variable bathymetry. It is driven at the connection with the ocean by a co-oscillating tide. Model results compare well with observations of pressure and currents in a section of the Intracoastal Waterway on the east coast of Florida. The comparison suggests that the waterway is highly frictional, causing the amplitude of the water elevation and tidal velocity to decrease away from the inlets to a minimum in the middle of the waterway. The local phase relationship between velocity and water elevation changed nonlinearly from 90° with no friction to 45° with maximum friction. In moderately to highly frictional basins, the phase lag was consistently less than 45°.

Corresponding author address: Amy F. Waterhouse, Civil and Coastal Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32601. E-mail: awaterhouse@ufl.edu

Abstract

The spatial structure of tidal amplitude and phase in a simplified system of connected estuaries, an idealized version of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, is analyzed with a linear analytical model. This model includes friction, the earth’s rotation, and variable bathymetry. It is driven at the connection with the ocean by a co-oscillating tide. Model results compare well with observations of pressure and currents in a section of the Intracoastal Waterway on the east coast of Florida. The comparison suggests that the waterway is highly frictional, causing the amplitude of the water elevation and tidal velocity to decrease away from the inlets to a minimum in the middle of the waterway. The local phase relationship between velocity and water elevation changed nonlinearly from 90° with no friction to 45° with maximum friction. In moderately to highly frictional basins, the phase lag was consistently less than 45°.

Corresponding author address: Amy F. Waterhouse, Civil and Coastal Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32601. E-mail: awaterhouse@ufl.edu
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