An Investigation of Vertical Structure in Shelf Circulation

Ned P. Smith Harbor Branch Foundation, Inc., RR 1, Box 196, Fort Pierce, FL 33450

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Abstract

Recording current meter data from four levels are used to describe the vertical structure of the circulation of mid shelf waters 33 m deep off the central Texas Gulf coast. Resultant current velocity vectors for the 41-day study indicate a strong onshore mass flux past the study site, with the cross-isobath deflection increasing with height above the bottom. Both the resultant current speed and direction vary approximately linearly when plotted against the natural log of the depth. Statistically significant coherences are computed for time scales in excess of one day for longshore motion through the lowest three-fourths of the water column, and for both longshore and cross-shelf motion in a layer 7 m thick just above mid depth.

Abstract

Recording current meter data from four levels are used to describe the vertical structure of the circulation of mid shelf waters 33 m deep off the central Texas Gulf coast. Resultant current velocity vectors for the 41-day study indicate a strong onshore mass flux past the study site, with the cross-isobath deflection increasing with height above the bottom. Both the resultant current speed and direction vary approximately linearly when plotted against the natural log of the depth. Statistically significant coherences are computed for time scales in excess of one day for longshore motion through the lowest three-fourths of the water column, and for both longshore and cross-shelf motion in a layer 7 m thick just above mid depth.

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