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Seasonal variation in concentration, size, and settling velocity of muddy marine flocs in the benthic boundary layer
Fettweis, M.; Baeye, M. (2015). Seasonal variation in concentration, size, and settling velocity of muddy marine flocs in the benthic boundary layer. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans 120(8): 5648–5667.
In: Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans. Wiley: Hoboken. ISSN 0148-0227, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 278289 [ OMA ]

    Flocculation; Nearshore dynamics; Seasonal variations; Sediment transport; Settling velocity; Suspended particulate matter; Marine

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    Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) concentration profiles of the lowest 2 m of the water column and particle size distribution at 2 m above the bed were measured in a coastal turbidity maximum area (southern North Sea) during more than 700 days between 2006 and 2013. The long-term data series of SPM concentration, floc size, and settling velocity have been ensemble averaged according to tidal range, alongshore residual flow direction, and season, in order to investigate the seasonal SPM dynamics and its relation with physical and biological processes. The data show that the SPM is more concentrated in the near-bed layer in summer, whereas in winter, the SPM is better mixed throughout the water column. The decrease of the SPM concentration in the water column during summer is compensated by a higher near-bed concentration indicating that a significant part of the SPM remains in the area during summer rather than being advected out of it. The opposite seasonality between near-bed layer and water column has to our knowledge not yet been presented in literature. Physical effects such as wave heights, wind climate, or storms have a weak correlation with the observed seasonality. The argument to favor microbial activity as main driver of the seasonality lies in the observed variations in floc size and settling velocity. On average, the flocs are larger and thus settling velocities higher in summer than winter.

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