Parametrization and classification



To expand basic understanding on estuarine hydrodynamics and propose a dynamic classification of estuaries.


Expected results

– Circumstances in which an estuarine residual circulation switches from being density-driven to being tidally-driven.

– Revised general classification of estuaries based on dynamics (see below).

Proposed estuarine behavior in terms of a dynamical parameter space Fr0 vs Ek in logarithmic scale. On both  panels, the abscissa shows the forcing agents, i.e., the competition between tidal stress and baroclinic pressure gradients. Positive values denote dominance of tidal stress, with values > 0.2 indicating the only forcing. Negative values correspond analogously to dominance of baroclinicity. The ordinate shows the balancing force, either Coriolis, expressed by negative values, or friction, marked as positive. Lighlty colored areas on the left panel indicate influence of all dynamic agents. The right panel displays a preliminary classification, with the dark shaded rectangles illustrating the parameter space where we could find the estuaries studied in this proposal. The transitions along the abscissa, indicated by the light shade, are likely to occur over a period of 1-3 days (switch from spring to neap tides and viceversa).