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Fine scale mapping of the structure and composition of the Elkhorn Slough (California, USA) tidal plume

Citation

Fischer, AM and Ryan, JP and Rienecker, EV, Fine scale mapping of the structure and composition of the Elkhorn Slough (California, USA) tidal plume, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 184 pp. 10-20. ISSN 0272-7714 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2016 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2016.10.035

Abstract

Fine scale mapping of the structure and composition of a tidal ebb plume from a highly modified coastal lagoon (Elkhorn Slough, California, USA) was conducted by combining in situ, observational data sets from surface underway mapping, autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) profiles, drifter tracking and the analysis of plume structure indices. The results reveal a 6-m-deep, jet-like, sediment laden plume extending one km offshore at low tide, which becomes entrained in the prevailing nearshore circulation. The plume that exits the slough is significantly different from the water that enters the slough. The rapidly evolving discharge plume is associated with elevated and highly correlated (r = 0.93) concentrations of dissolved organic matter and nitrate. While dissolved constituents remain in the shallow plume and are transported northward with the prevailing current, sediment may settle quickly through the water column and can be transported southwestward with the littoral currents. This study illustrates the applications of AUVs, when coupled with additional datasets, for generating higher resolution observational snapshots of dynamic and ephemeral tidal plumes. The results provide unique perspective on small-scale dynamics of an estuarine plume and its influence on coastal ecology.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:coastal lagoon, AUV, plume mapping
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Oceanography not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Other Environment
Objective Field:Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. climate related)
Author:Fischer, AM (Dr Andy Fischer)
ID Code:112613
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Centre for Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2016-11-18
Last Modified:2017-10-12
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