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A study of the oceanographic structure in British Columbia inlets and some of the determining factors Trites, Ronald Wilmot

Abstract

Fresh water entering the inlets moves seaward, mixing with and entraining salt water from below. On the assumption that horizontal advection of salt is balanced by vertical diffusion, the magnitude and variation in time and space of the diffusion coefficient are determined by numerical evaluation of the differential equation describing this process. A method of systematically smoothing the data is established by solving the differential equation analytically. These solutions yield further information on the diffusion coefficient which is found to be nearly constant in the upper reaches of an inlet but increases rapidly towards the mouth in the brackish layer. A technique is developed for determining the total fresh water inflow to the inlets using precipitation observations and available river flow measurements. The results indicate that a significant proportion of fresh water enters from the sides at all times. The importance of this in theoretical studies is emphasized. The results are also analyzed for a possible relationship between inlet dimensions and intensity of mixing. A new method, based on the heat budget, is developed to determine the mean seaward movement of the brackish layer. This method is also applied to determine the depth from which salt water is entrained into the surface layer.

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