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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans

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Abstract/ Summary

The Princeton Ocean Model is used to study the circulation in the Pear River Estuary (PRE) and the adjacent coastal waters in the winter and summer seasons. Wong et al. [2003] compares the simulation results with the in situ measurements collected during the Pearl River Estuary Pollution Project (PREPP). In this paper, sensitivity experiments are carried out to examine the plume and the associated frontal dynamics in response to seasonal discharges and monsoon winds. During the winter, convergence between the seaward spreading plume water and the saline coastal water sets up a salinity front that aligns from the northeast to the southwest inside the PRE. During the summer the plume water fills the PRE at the surface and spreads eastward in the coastal waters in response to the prevailing southwesterly monsoon. The overall alignment of the plume is from the northwest to the southeast. The subsurface front is similar to that in the winter and summer except that the summer front is closer to the mouth and the winter front closer to the head of the estuary. Inside the PRE, bottom flows are always toward the head of the estuary, attributed to the density gradient associated with the plume front. In contrast, bottom flows in the shelf change from offshore in winter to onshore in summer, reflecting respectively the wintertime downwelling and summertime upwelling. Wind also plays an essential role in controlling the plume at the surface. An easterly wind drives the plume westward regardless winter or summer. The eastward spreading of the plume during the summer can be attributed to the southerly component of the wind. On the other hand, the surface area of the plume is positively proportional to the amount of discharge.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Wong LA, Chen JC, Xue H, Dong LX, Guan WB, Su JL. A Model Study of the Circulation in the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) and Its Adjacent Coastal Waters: 2. Sensitivity Experiments. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 2003;108: 3157. To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.

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Copyright 2003 American Geophysical Union.




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