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Kuo-Chuin Wong

Abstract

Sea level observations made during a three-month period in late 1984 at four stations in and near Delaware's inland bays are used for the examination of tidal and subtidal variability in the bays. Five tidal Constituents are found to be active in the bays, With M2 being the most important one. The inland bays, with their narrow inlets and shallow depths, behave like low-pass filters for oceanic disturbances propagating into the interior of the bays. Overall, tidal variance decreases sharply inside the bays, with the semidiurnal tides suffering significantly higher attenuation than the diurnal tides. At subtidal frequencies, sea level fluctuations in the interior of the bays are primarily forced by coastal sea level fluctuations generated by atmospheric forcing on the adjacent shelf. Local wind forcing within the bays appears to play only a secondary role in modifying the coastally forced sea level. The active subtidal sea level fluctuations induced by the bay-shelf coupling effect experience no appreciable attenuation within the bays. As a consequence, sea level variance at subtidal frequencies is even greater than that at tidal frequencies in one of the inland bays.

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Kuo-Chuin Wong and Robert E. Wilson

Abstract

Sea level and current data collected around Great South Bay, New York during December 1979 are examined in conjunction with atmospheric data for evidence of wind-forced, low frequency variability in the Bay and on the adjacent shelf. The subtidal sea level along the coast was found to be highly coherent from Sandy Hook to Montauk Point, with a single empirical mode accounted for more than 97% of the total variance. These coherent fluctuations were forced primarily by longshore winds (along 250–070°T) through the coastal Ekman effect. The sea level within the Bay exhibited large and spatially coherent subtidal fluctuations as a result of a strong coupling with the adjacent shelf. The characteristic volume exchange associated with this Bay-shelf coupling was an active simultaneous inflow or outflow through both ends of the Bay (with fluctuations in excess of 20 cm s−1) in response to the rise or fall of coastal sea level induced by longshore winds.

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