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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The influence of the earth’s rotation on the wind-driven flow in Hecate Strait, British Columbia Hannah, Charles Gordon


A regional model of the depth-averaged currents in Hecate Strait, British Columbia has been developed: the Hecate Strait Model. When driven by local winds the model simulates the winter transport fluctuations and captures the character of the observed circulation patterns. The modelled currents are consistent with the historical view of the winter circulation and contain the counter-current observed in southern Hecate Strait. The counter-current is due to topographic steering: the tendency, in a rotating fluid, for the flow to follow the local depth contours. The model results suggest a new interpretation of the observed currents in southern Hecate Strait, which has implications for particle transport. The influence of the earth’s rotation on the water transport through Hecate Strait is investigated using the concept of rotation-limited-flux. The effect of rotation is to reduce the flux through the strait compared with a non-rotating strait. Numerical experiments with the Hecate Strait Model show that the earth’s rotation reduces the steady state transport by a factor of three. The relationship between the steady-state transport and the Coriolis parameter is consistent with rotation-limited-flux.

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