Stability of an Australian inverse bay

Grawe, Ulf and Ribbe, Joachim ORCID: and Wolff, Jorg-Olaf (2008) Stability of an Australian inverse bay. In: PECS 2008: Physics of Estuaries and Coastal Seas, 25-29th August 2008, Liverpool, United Kingdom.


[Abstract]: Hervey Bay, a large coastal embayment situated off the central eastern coast of Australia, is a shallow tidal area (average depth = 15 m), close to the continental shelf. It shows features of an inverse estuary, due to the high evaporation rate (approx. 2 m/year), low precipitation (less than 1 m/year) and on average almost no freshwater input from three rivers that drain into the bay.
We applied an ocean general circulation model to compute the temperature, density and salinity distribution within the bay and surroundings. The numerical studies are performed with the COupled Hydrodynamical Ecological model for REgioNal Shelf seas (COHERENS). A model validation and calibration was carried out after recent field campaigns.
The investigations showed that the bay is almost vertically well mixed throughout the year and that the horizontal distribution of properties follows the bathymetry. As in other inverse/negative estuaries, the year-round salinity increases toward the shore to form a nearly persistent salinity gradient. This leads especially in the transition from summer to autumn to the formation of dense water mass thereby establishing gravity currents. The high saline water can sink beyond 200 m, flow over the continental shelf to form a ‘Hervey Bay’ water mass that is advected with the East Australian Current. The investigation further showed that air temperature, wind direction and tidal regime are mainly responsible for the stability of the inverse circulation and strength of the salinity gradient across the bay.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Awaiting copyright advice.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Biological and Physical Sciences (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2008 01:05
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: estuary, Hervey Bay, East Australian Current, inverse estuary, coastal ocean, climate variability, coastal ocean modelling, hydrological cycle
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography
04 Earth Sciences > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040105 Climatology (excl.Climate Change Processes)
Fields of Research (2020): 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3708 Oceanography > 370803 Physical oceanography
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370202 Climatology

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