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A study of non-linear tidal propagation in shallow inlet / estuarine systems, Part I: observations
Aubrey, D.G.; Speer, P. (1985). A study of non-linear tidal propagation in shallow inlet / estuarine systems, Part I: observations. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 21: 185-205
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    tidal estuaries; tidal flats; tidal friction; harmonic analysis; Massachusetts coast

Authors  Top 
  • Aubrey, D.G.
  • Speer, P.

    The offshore tide becomes strongly distorted as it propagates into shallow estuarine systems. Observations of sea surface elevation and horizontal currents over periods ranging from three days to one year, at nine stations within Nauset inlet/estuary, document the non-linear interaction of the off-shore equilibrium tidal constituents. Despite strong frictional attenuation within the estuary, the overtides and compound tides of M2, S2 and N2, in particular, reach significant amplitude, resulting in strong tidal distortion. High frequency forced constituents in sea surface are phase-locked, consistently leading the forcing tides by 60–70°, resulting in a persistent distortion where falling tide is longer than rising tide. Forced constituents in currents are more nearly in phase with equilibrium constituents, producing flood currents which are shorter but more intense than ebb currents. A compound fortnightly tide, MSf, modulates the mean water level such that lowest tides occur during neap phase instead of spring phase. This fortnightly tide can be contaminated by storm surge, changing the phase characteristics of this constituent. Implications of the overtides, compound tides, and lower frequency tides on near-bed, suspended and dissolved material transport are profound.

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