My research focuses on understanding the mixing and transport processes driving the water mass transformation in the estuarine and coastal regions as these processes ultimately control the fate of freshwater and the water mass structure on the continental shelf. To advance this pursuit I develop novel analytical tools and utilize numerical models along with observational oceanographic and meteorological data in an attempt to capture and advance the understanding of the underlying physical processes.
Columbia River Plume
We are examining the processes governing the turbulent mixing and entrainment in the tidal plume of the Columbia River, including the importance of frontal processes in setting the plume’s structure and character.
The overall objectives include:
- Determine the factors controlling the intensity of turbulent mixing and entrainment in tidal plume systems
- Quantify the relative contribution of the frontal mixing process to the net tidal plume entrainment
- Determine the factors controlling the formation, growth, and release of non-linear internal waves (NLIW) at the plume front and quantify their associated contribution to the energetics of the system
Hudson River Plume
This study was undertaken as part of the larger NSF-funded Lagrangian Transport and Transformation Experiment (LaTTE) which was a large interdisciplinary project put together to study the influence of the Hudson River plume on the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) region. As part of LaTTE I worked on examining the effects of variable wind forcing, river discharge, and shelf circulation on the plume structure and freshwater transport pathways on the continental shelf.
We developed a description of a downstream recirculating region and found its formation is driven by the interaction between the coupled plume/estuary system and the variable wind forcing and shelf circulation. We additionally described the importance of cross-shore winds and the geometry of the MAB in setting up the various freshwater transport pathways on the shelf.