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Modelling Oceanographic Coastal Currents in Small-Scale and Large-Scale Laboratory Experiments

[ jeudi 09-12-2004 12:00 | anglais ]Modelling Oceanographic Coastal Currents in Small-Scale and Large-Scale Laboratory Experiments Peter J. Thomas Université de Warwick England
Résumé :
When estuarine river water discharges into the coastal zone a gravity-driven surface flow can be established. The flow develops as a consequence of the density difference between the discharged, buoyant fresh water and the denser, salty ocean water. When the discharged water masses are sufficiently large the developing currents are influenced by the background rotation of the Earth. The talk discusses laboratory experiments simulating gravity-driven oceanographic coastal surface currents. Results from two complementing studies in rotating tanks on substantially different spatial scales (tank diameters: 1m vs. 15m) are compared to each other. A geostrophic model is developed which predicts the propagation speed of the currents their width and their depth. Very good agreement with experiments is found.