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Comparison of the Salinity Structure of the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware Bay and Long Island Sound Using a Linearly Tapered Advection-Dispersion Model

Peter Gay and James O'Donnell
Estuaries and Coasts
Vol. 32, No. 1 (JANUARY 2009), pp. 68-87
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40663520
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Comparison of the Salinity Structure of the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware Bay and Long Island Sound Using a Linearly Tapered Advection-Dispersion Model
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Abstract

Long records of monthly salinity observations along the axis of Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Long Island Sound are used to test a simple advection-dispersion model of the salt distribution in linearly tapered estuaries developed in a previous paper. We subdivide each estuary into three to five segments, each with linear taper allowing a distributed input of fresh water, and evaluate the dispersion in each segment. While Delaware Bay has weak dispersion and a classical sigmoidal salinity structure, Long Island Sound and Chesapeake Bay are more dispersive and have relatively small gradients in the central stretches. Long Island Sound is distinguished by having a net volume and salt flux out of its low-salinity end resulting in a smaller range of salinity and increasing axial gradients at its head rather than the usual asymptotic approach to zero salinity. Estimates of residence times based on model transport coefficients show that Long Island Sound has the most rapid response to fresh-water flux variations. It also has the largest amplitude cycle in river discharge fluctuation. In combination, these cause the large seasonal variation in the salinity structure relative to interannual variability in Long Island Sound as compared with Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay.

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