Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Lateral Circulation in a Partially Stratified Tidal Inlet

Version 1 : Received: 30 September 2018 / Approved: 1 October 2018 / Online: 1 October 2018 (10:43:57 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 29 October 2018 / Approved: 30 October 2018 / Online: 30 October 2018 (08:49:57 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Cui, L.; Huang, H.; Li, C.; Justic, D. Lateral Circulation in a Partially Stratified Tidal Inlet. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2018, 6, 159. Cui, L.; Huang, H.; Li, C.; Justic, D. Lateral Circulation in a Partially Stratified Tidal Inlet. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2018, 6, 159.


Using a three-dimensional, hydrostatic, primitive-equation ocean model, this study investigates the dynamics of lateral circulation in a partially stratified tidal inlet, the Barataria Pass in the Gulf of Mexico, over a 25.6-hour diurnal tidal cycle. Model performance is assessed against observational data. During flood tide, the lateral circulation exhibits the characteristics similar to that induced by differential advection, i.e., lateral flow consists of two counter-rotating cells and is convergent at the surface. The analysis of momentum balance indicates that, in addition to the pressure gradient and vertical stress divergence, nonlinear advection and horizontal stress divergence are also important contributors. During ebb phase, the lateral circulation is mostly eastward for the whole water column and persisting for almost the whole period. The surface divergence suggested by the differential advection mechanism lasts for a very short period, if it ever exists. The main momentum balance across most of the transect during ebb is between the along-channel advection of cross-channel momentum and pressure gradient. The sectional averaged lateral velocity magnitude during ebb is comparable to that during flood, which is different from the idealized numerical experiment result.


Estuarine Modeling; Lateral Circulation; Tidal Currents; Momentum Balance


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Oceanography

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