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New dimensions in estuary classification

Author(s): Hansen DV, Rattray M

Abstract

Results of recent theoretical studies are used as a basis for a new two-parameter system of estuarine classification. The classes are delineated by the magnitudes of the relative stratification and circulation parameters associated with changes in the salt balance mechanism.

The theoretical results depend on a knowledge of the eddy coefficients of viscosity and diffusivity. Tentative relationships between these coefficients and the bulk parameters of tidal current, river flow, and geomorphology, which are obtained from experimental data, may be used to determine the salinity and net current distributions in partially mixed and well-mixed coastal plain estuaries.

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