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Fine scale mapping of the structure and composition of the Elkhorn Slough (California, USA) tidal plume

Fischer, AM ORCID: 0000-0001-5284-6428, Ryan, JP and Rienecker, EV 2017 , 'Fine scale mapping of the structure and composition of the Elkhorn Slough (California, USA) tidal plume' , Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, vol. 184 , pp. 10-20 , doi: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.10.035.

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Abstract

Fine scale mapping of the structure and composition of a tidal ebb plume from a highly modified coastallagoon (Elkhorn Slough, California, USA) was conducted by combining in situ, observational data setsfrom surface underway mapping, autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) profiles, drifter tracking andthe analysis of plume structure indices. The results reveal a 6-m-deep, jet-like, sediment laden plumeextending one km offshore at low tide, which becomes entrained in the prevailing nearshore circulation.The plume that exits the slough is significantly different from the water that enters the slough. Therapidly evolving discharge plume is associated with elevated and highly correlated (r = 0.93) concentrationsof dissolved organic matter and nitrate. While dissolved constituents remain in the shallowplume and are transported northward with the prevailing current, sediment may settle quickly throughthe water column and can be transported southwestward with the littoral currents. This study illustratesthe applications of AUVs, when coupled with additional datasets, for generating higher resolutionobservational snapshots of dynamic and ephemeral tidal plumes. The results provide unique perspectiveon small-scale dynamics of an estuarine plume and its influence on coastal ecology.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Fischer, AM and Ryan, JP and Rienecker, EV
Keywords: Coastal lagoon, AUV, plume mapping
Journal or Publication Title: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Publisher: Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0272-7714
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.10.035
Copyright Information:

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

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