|Circulation in a semi enclosed bay under the influence of strong fresh water input. |
(Article) Publié: Journal Of Marine Systems, vol. 56, p.112-132, (2005)
Ref HAL: hal-00023199_v1
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A high horizontal resolution 3D hydrodynamic model was applied to a semi-enclosed bay (Gulf of Fos, western Mediterranean Sea) in order to describe the specific circulation patterns driven by winds and to infer the scales of residence times. Freshwater inputs to this bay come from the Rhône river and navigation channels. Idealised simulations under typical wind forcing conditions were performed and are described in this paper. They revealed several features of the exchanges of water masses in the Gulf of Fos, in particular the intrusion of the Rhône river plume generated by south winds. During northern wind conditions, surface waters flushed out of the system. To compensate for this outflow, bottom currents transporting marine waters took the opposite direction. Residence times in the different areas of the gulf were also investigated. A realistic simulation was performed under actual conditions of Rhône river discharges, meteorological forcing and impact of the surrounding general circulation. Model outputs, mainly salinity fields, were compared to 10-day observations acquired during a multidisciplinary cruise that took place in May 2001. Model results and observations were in good agreement and showed a massive inflow of the Rhône river plume waters into the Gulf of Fos during a south wind event. Sensitivity studies showed that the salinity field was strongly dependent on the wind direction and on the local freshwater discharges.