The influence of local and non-local forcing effects on the subtidal circulation of Patos Lagoon

Möller Junior, Osmar Olinto; Castaing, Patrice; Salomon, Jean-Claude; Lazure, Pascal


Some basic features concerning the subtidal circulation of Patos Lagoon were studied through time series analysis of wind, freshwater discharge, and water level records, as well as by means of experiments carried out with a 3D numerical model. The results indicate that during low to moderate river discharge the wind is the main forcing mechanism in time scales associated with meteorological fronts. The two types of wind action, local and non-local effects, are distinguished and their relative importance is evaluated. Salt water enters the system due to a combination of both remote and local wind effects that favors the development of a pressure gradient towards the lagoon during southwesterly winds. This situation is reversed when northeasterly winds dominate. In the inner parts of the lagoon, local wind plays the major role by inducing set up/set down oscillations. An upwind return flow is then developed under these conditions. During high flood periods, normally observed in late winter, the circulation is driven by freshwater discharge.

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