Tidal and subtidal fluctuations in temperature, salinity and pressure for the winter 1996 larval ingress experiment - Beaufort Inlet, NC
A multidisciplinary field experiment was conducted to compare water properties, larval abundances, and transport and retention processes at Beaufort Inlet and two channels leading to the estuarine nursery grounds. Temperature, salinity and subsurface pressure were monitored in situ for a six-week period during March and April 1996 in each channel. Intensive sampling was performed during two neap-tide periods when water mass conditions in the estuary were significantly different. Currents were stronger in the eastern channel during both experiments. Ebb currents were stronger than flood in both channels. Decreasing subtidal sea level appeared to account for the stronger ebb currents. Subtidal sea level in the inlet responded optimally to north-south (along the inlet axis) wind stress and along a line 15°clockwise of north-south. This direction closely parallels the channel axis of Core Sound and may provide an efficient conduit to carry large volumes of low-salinity Pamlico Sound water into the estuarine complex when winds blow south in this sector. The tidal stream in Beaufort Inlet sets up strong cross-inlet gradients by the advection on the east side of higher salinity shelf water and advection on the west side of Beaufort Inlet plume water. The axial fronts produced by differential advection of these two water masses might play some role in redistributing larvae present in one tidal stream to another.
Blanton, JO; Amft, J; Luettich, RA; Hench, JL; Churchill, JH
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