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Estuarine Geomorphology, Circulation, and Mixing

October 1, 2022

To understand the processes affecting the distribution and cycles of particulates, pollutants, nutrients, and organisms in estuaries, it is insufficient to focus solely on the biological and chemical aspects of the processes. Water sources and movements (e.g. evaporation, precipitation, riverine discharge, submarine ground water discharge, wetland hydrology, and tidal exchange) as well as other hydrodynamic aspects of coastal systems, including circulation patterns, stratification, mixing and flushing, must also be considered. When hydrodynamic changes occur quickly relative to biological, geological, and chemical transformations, they become the dominant controlling factors of many ecological processes in estuaries (Officer 1980), and it is now widely recognized that a thorough understanding of the marine estuarine ecology requires comprehensive knowledge and integration of physical processes affecting the system. Using the terminology of a shallow-water oceanographer, this chapter aims to organize, classify, and describe some of these important physical characteristics and processes.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Estuarine Geomorphology, Circulation, and Mixing
Authors Gregg Snedden, Jaye E. Cable, Björn Kjerfve
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70238656
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center