The attenuation of tidal and subtidal oscillations in the patos lagoon estuary

Fernandes, Elisa Helena Leão; Mariño-Tapia, Ismael; Dyer, Keith Richard; Möller Junior, Osmar Olinto


Abstract The single, long and narrow channel that usually connects choked coastal lagoons to the ocean can serve as a natural hydraulic low-pass filter that reduces or eliminates tidal and subtidal effects inside the lagoon. This study proposes an alternative method of estimating the attenuation of the tidal and subtidal oscillations throughout the Patos Lagoon estuary. The attenuation is estimated for conditions of contrasting river runoff and weather (summer and winter). A highpass/ low-pass filter (fast fourier transformation technique – FFT) is applied to time series of sea-surface elevation (SSE) measured at the mouth of the Patos Lagoon. The resulting high-frequency (tidal) and lowfrequency (subtidal) signals are used in independent simulations to force the TELEMAC-2D model. Attenuation of the tidal and subtidal signals throughout the estuary is estimated by applying cross-spectral analysis between the model-generated SSE time series at different locations throughout the estuary and the filtered SSE time series measured at the mouth. Results from the proposed method suggest that: (1) the low-frequency (subtidal) oscillations are less attenuated and propagate further than the high-frequency (tidal) oscillations in the Patos Lagoon estuary; (2) the filtering capability of the Patos Lagoon estuary is expected to follow a seasonal pattern, although further investigations on an interannual time scale are recommended in order to confirm this hypothesis; (3) the influence of the oceanic boundary processes on the SSE dynamics of the lagoon is restricted to the lower estuary. Further inland, the local forcing generated by the wind and freshwater input is likely to be the main forcing effect controlling the dynamics of the system. The proposed method proved to be an efficient and alternative way of estimating the attenuation of energy in the tidal and subtidal bands throughout the access channel of a choked coastal lagoon located in an area of reduced tidal influence.

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  • IO - Artigos publicados em periódicos