Numerical modeling of three-dimensional stratified tidal flow over Camarinal Sill, Strait of Gibraltar Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The baroclinic response to barotropic tidal forcing in the Camarinal Sill area, within the Strait of Gibraltar, is investigated with a three-dimensional, fully nonlinear, nonhydrostatic numerical model. The aim of numerical efforts was the assessment of three-dimensional effects, which are potentially significant in the area because of rather irregular bottom topography, variable background stratification, and complex structure of barotropic tides. Model results reveal a complex baroclinic response under relatively moderate flood tidal currents, which includes the formation of internal hydraulic jumps upstream of the sill, internal cross waves close to the channel walls, and a plunging pycnocline at the lee side of the sill crest. These structures exhibit significant cross-channel spatial dependence and may appear to be aligned together across the channel. This fact makes their identification difficult from the surface pattern captured by remote sensing images. Under strong barotropic forcing (spring tides) the upstream hydraulic jumps are shifted to the lee side of Camarinal Sill, where a single internal hydraulic jump is formed. Significant first- and second-mode hydraulic jumps are also generated near smaller secondary sills in Tangier basin, thus extending the occurrence of intense water mixing and energy dissipation to other zones of the strait.

publication date

  • 2011