Tidal and Subtidal Variability in Delaware's Inland Bays

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  • 1 College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716
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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.

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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