Numerical study of circulation on the inner Amazon Shelf Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We studied the circulation on the coastal domain of the Amazon Shelf by applying the hydrodynamic module of the Estuarine and Coastal Ocean Model and Sediment Transport - ECOMSED. The first barotropic experiment aimed to explain the major bathymetric effects on tides and those generated by anisotropy in sediment distribution. We analyzed the continental shelf response of barotropic tides under realistic bottom stress parametrization (Cd), considering sediment granulometry obtained from a faciologic map, where river mud deposits and reworked sediments areas are well distinguished, among others classes of sediments. Very low Cd values were set in the fluid mud regions off the Amapa coast (1.0 10-4 ), in contrast to values around 3:5 10-3 for coarser sediment regions off the Para coast. Three-dimensional experiments represented the Amazon River discharge and trade winds, combined to barotropic tide influences and induced vertical mixing. The quasi-resonant response of the Amazon Shelf to the M2 tide act on the local hydrodynamics by increasing tidal admittance, along with tidal forcing at the shelf break and extensive fluid mud regions. Harmonic analysis of modeled currents agreed well with analysis of the AMASSEDS observational data set. Tidal-induced vertical shear provided strong homogenization of threshold waters, which are subject to a kind of hydraulic control due to the topographic steepness. Ahead of the hydraulic jump, the low-salinity plume is disconnected from the bottom and acquires negative vorticity, turning southeastward. Tides act as a generator mechanism and topography, via hydraulic control, as a maintainer mechanism for the low-salinity frontal zone positioning. Tidally induced southeastward plume fate is overwhelmed by northwestward trade winds so that, along with background circulation, probably play the most important role on the plume fate and variability over the Amazon Shelf.

publication date

  • November 2008