Modeling circulation patterns induced by spatial cross-shore wind variability in a small-size coastal embayment
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This contribution shows the importance of the cross-shore spatial wind variability in the water circulation in a small-sized micro-tidal bay. The hydrodynamic wind response at Alfacs Bay (Ebro River delta, NW Mediterranean Sea) is investigated with a numerical model (ROMS) supported by in situ observations. The wind variability observed in meteorological measurements is characterized with meteorological model (WRF) outputs. From the hydrodynamic simulations of the bay, the water circulation response is affected by the cross-shore wind variability, leading to water current structures not observed in the homogeneous-wind case. If the wind heterogeneity response is considered, the water exchange in the longitudinal direction increases significantly, reducing the water exchange time by around 20%. Wind resolutions half the size of the bay (in our case around 9 km) inhibit cross-shore wind variability, which significantly affects the resultant circulation pattern. The characteristic response is also investigated using idealized test cases. These results show how the wind curl contributes to the hydrodynamic response in shallow areas and promotes the exchange between the bay and the open sea. Negative wind curl is related to the formation of an anti-cyclonic gyre at the bay's mouth. Our results highlight the importance of considering appropriate wind resolution even in small-scale domains (such as bays or harbors) to characterize the hydrodynamics, with relevant implications in the water exchange time and the consequent water quality and ecological parameters.
CitationCerralbo, P., Espino, M., Grifoll, M. Modeling circulation patterns induced by spatial cross-shore wind variability in a small-size coastal embayment. "Ocean modeling", Agost 2016, vol. 104, p. 84-98.