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Observations of currents and temperatures in the southeast Florida Coastal zone during 1971-72
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Observations of currents and temperatures in the southeast Florida Coastal zone during 1971-72
  • Description:
    The long, narrow, and shallow (less than 20 m) shelf region of Southeast Florida is distinctly different from the deeper off shore water where the dominant motions are those of the Florida Current. The shallow water is primarily wind driven, but also subject to tidal motions near tidal inlets. A basic problem in determining South Florida coastal processes is that the major dynamics and, hence, the major exchange mechanisms contain so much energy at low frequency that at least 4 months of data are required for computation of reliable statistics. In long current measurement records, the net northward motion is nearly zero. In the winter, the temperature of coastal water is less than the temperature of offshore water by about ư° C/km. This positive east-west gradient of temperature is caused by the frequently occurring cold fronts which pass over South Florida regularly in the winter. The momentum flux that had the most spatial variation and, hence, whose divergence was also the largest, was the low frequency covariance between the north and east components of current where its sign actually changed from -26 to 20 cm² /sec² over a distance of only 2 km. The resulting divergence, or Reynolds stress, was of order 10⁻⁴) cm/sec².
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