The density-driven circulation of the coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Salamena, Gerry G., Martins, Flávio, and Ridd, Peter V. (2016) The density-driven circulation of the coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 105 (1). pp. 277-285.

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Abstract

The coastal hypersaline system of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in the dry season, was investigated for the first time using a 3D baroclinic model. In the shallow coastal embayments, salinity increases to c.a. 1‰ above typical offshore salinity (~ 35.4‰). This salinity increase is due to high evaporation rates and negligible freshwater input. The hypersalinity drifts longshore north-westward due to south-easterly trade winds and may eventually pass capes or headlands, e.g. Cape Cleveland, where the water is considerably deeper (c.a. 15 m). Here, a pronounced thermohaline circulation is predicted to occur which flushes the hypersalinity offshore at velocities of up to 0.08 m/s. Flushing time of the coastal embayments is around 2–3 weeks. During the dry season early summer, the thermohaline circulation reduces and therefore, flushing times are predicted to be slight longer due to the reduced onshore-offshore density gradient compared to that in the dry season winter period.

Item ID: 43885
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: density-driven circulation; hypersaline waters; Great Barrier Reef; flushing time
Funders: Australian Awards Scholarship
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 02:22
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography @ 50%
02 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 0203 Classical Physics > 020303 Fluid Physics @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961102 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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