Three-dimensional exchange flows in a semi-enclosed bay: Numerical simulations and high frequency radar observations
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In this work we present the exchange flows between a semi-enclosed Bay and the adjacent ocean as measured by a real-time coastal observing system in Baja California, Mexico. Several sources of information as numerical modeling, currents profile data, high frequency radar observations and drifters tracking, all together show an interesting three-dimensional structure to the exchange flows. The northern entrance (relatively shallow, ~40 m at its deepest portion) showed an estuarine-like exchange pattern, with a net outflow at the shallow parts and inflow at the deepest, suggesting that the frictional effect is more important than the earth's rotation, as typically observed in relatively small bodies of water like estuaries and coastal lagoons. On the other hand, the southern entrance (with a ~400 m deep canyon) is more complex, with recurrent anticyclonic exchange pattern with inflows at the western limit and outflows at the east. We suggest that the vertical structure of this circulation may be sustained by the deep canyon which lowers the thermocline, but further investigation is needed.
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