University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Estimation of Freshwater Runoff into Glacier Bay, Alaska and Incorporation into a Tidal Circulation Model

Hill, D.F., Ciavola, S.J., Etherington, L. and Klaar, Megan (2009) Estimation of Freshwater Runoff into Glacier Bay, Alaska and Incorporation into a Tidal Circulation Model. Esturaine and Coastal Shelf Science, 82 (1). pp. 95-107. ISSN 0272-7714

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Freshwater discharge is one of the most critical parameters driving water properties within fjord estuarine environments. To date, however, little attention has been paid to the issue of freshwater runoff into Glacier Bay, a recently deglaciated fjord in southeastern Alaska. Estimates of discharge into Glacier Bay and the outlying waters of Icy Strait and Cross Sound are therefore presented. Existing regression equations for southcentral and southeastern coastal Alaska are applied to Glacier Bay to arrive at the estimates. A limited set of acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements generally support the predictions of the regression equations. The results suggest that discharge into the bay ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand m3 s�1 during a typical year. Peak discharges can be much higher, approximately 10,000 m3 s�1 for the 10-year flow event. Estimates of the seasonal variation of discharge are also obtained and reveal a broad peak during the summer months. The hydrologic estimates are then coupled with a barotropic tidal circulation model (ADCIRC – ADvanced CIRCulation model) of Glacier Bay waters. This coupling is achieved by treating the entire coastline boundary as a non-zero normal-flux boundary. Numerical simulations with the inclusion of runoff allow for the estimation of parameters such as the estuarine Richardson number, which is an indicator of estuary mixing. Simulations also allow for the comparison of Lagrangian trajectories in the presence and absence of runoff. The results of the present paper are intended to complement a comprehensive and recently-published dataset on the oceanographic conditions of Glacier Bay. The results will also guide continuing efforts to model three-dimensional circulations in the bay.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: runoff, hydrology, tidal models, circulation, Richardson number, fjord estuarine system
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Megan Klaar
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2013 12:35
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2015 14:19

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