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A study of lateral circulation in an inlet Campbell, Neil John

Abstract

On the thesis that the lateral frictional stresses should play an important part in determining the horizontal circulation in landlocked bodies of water, a mathematical model of the circulation in an inlet is developed. The circulation is described by a fourth order differential equation [formula omitted] where Ψ is a stream function. A solution representing a commonly observed circulation is obtained for a rectangular bay. The significance of Coriolian, frictional, and mass field forces in maintaining such a circulation is discussed. The theoretical model is tested by means of data available for Burrard Inlet. The data indicate the existence of two net circulations, one at 50 feet which has been attributed to the tides, and the other at the surface which is influenced strongly by the influx of brackish water from the Fraser River. Relaxation methods are introduced to test the current fields for verification of the differential equation. Despite the more complex boundaries of Burrard Inlet as compared with the rectangular bay investigation, the actual circulation in Burrard Inlet is found to satisfy the fourth order differential equation within the limit of observational error. This agreement suggests that the lateral frictional stresses do play an important part in the circulation in inlets. Further applications of relaxation methods are urged for oceanographic studies. Suggestions are made as to where oceanographic observations should be taken for a study of lateral circulations in inlets or bays. The reasonable agreement of the mathematical model and prototype suggests that lateral effects can be described by the mathematical theory.

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