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Title Some physical factors that may affect turbulent mixing in Altamaha Sound, Georgia
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A directed studies research project to understand turbulent mixing processes in Altamaha Sound has been carried out as part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research (GCE-LTER) project. In this study we analyze the flow and salinity characteristics, which has a periodic component of stratification that interacts with turbulent mixing to control water column stability. There is a contrast between the ebb and flood phases of the tides showing that during ebb, the water column is well mixed indicating that shear instabilities give rise to turbulent mixing and that during flood, density gradients stabilize the variations caused by the current shear. These results are contrary to tidal straining theory and are hypothesized to be related to shoaling surrounding the Altamaha channel towards the ocean. Because of shoaling, surface gravity waves may play a key role in enhancing bottom stress variability during flood flow. The physical factors that control turbulence in the coastal ocean are very important for understanding the mixing of water masses and thus the distribution of chemical, biological and physical properties that directly affect water quality.

Contributors Daniela Di Iorio and KiRyong Kang

Di Iorio, D. and Kang, K. 2003. Some physical factors that may affect turbulent mixing in Altamaha Sound, Georgia. Hatcher, K.J. (editor). Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Water Resources Conference. Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Key Words Altamaha, mixing, physical factors, sound, Student Publication, turbulent
File Date 2003
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.