Modelled response of Gulf St Vincent (South Australia) to evaporation, heating and winds

de Silva Samarasinghe, J.R., Bode, L., and Mason, L.B. (2003) Modelled response of Gulf St Vincent (South Australia) to evaporation, heating and winds. Continental Shelf Research, 23 (14). pp. 1285-1313.

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In Gulf St Vincent, Australia, the salinity of the head waters can exceed 42 in summer when evaporation is maximum and the rainfall is minimal. A depth-integrated implicit finite difference model is extended to simulate the summer–autumn evolution of salinity, temperature, and density distributions, with climatological evaporation, rainfall, air temperature, and wind stress as inputs. Advection of salt and heat by the density- and wind-driven circulation is modelled by the QUICK scheme, whereas horizontal mixing by tidal circulation is parameterised by a dispersion coefficient related to the oscillatory vertical shear. Simulated distributions and seasonal variations compare well with available observations, which feature the flow of highly saline water along the eastern side of the gulf, while the western side is bathed by less saline shelf water. Model results show that, despite the increasing salinity gradients in summer, opposing temperature gradients can stifle the shelfward density currents in the southern parts of the region. Autumn cooling intensifies these density currents so that at the end of the season the flushing of highly saline water, accumulated in the gulf throughout the summer, is enhanced. It was found that the variability in the general circulation brought about by the directional variability in the prevailing winds is an important factor in maintaining the observed salinity distributions in the region.

Item ID: 6140
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6955
Keywords: Australia; density currents; evaporation; Gulf St Vincent; modelling approach; salinity
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2010 05:19
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 100%
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