Circulation and hydrodynamics of the lower Cape Fear River, North Carolina
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Circulation and hydrodynamics of the lower Cape Fear River, North Carolina

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Circulation and hydrodynamics of the lower Cape Fear River, North Carolina

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    The results from the harmonic analysis of the data from tide and current stations in the lower Cape Fear River are presented in the form of tables, cotidal and corange charts, and charts illustrating the relationships among various harmonic constituents. Salinity and temperature data are presented in the form of contours of longitudinal transects and time series stations covering full tidal cycles. Instrumentation, data products, and the various methods of analysis are described. The implications from the results of the various methods of analysis of the- circulation and hydrodynamics of the lower Cape Fear River are discussed. A simple one-dimensional model is presented to help describe the tidal hydrodynamics of a long narrow estuary. The nontidal rise and fall of the water surface of the river as a result of the meteorological forces of wind and barometric pressure is discussed. NOS historical data, a physical description of the area, and approximate values of transport through several cross sections are given. It has been concluded that the tidal wave in the Cape Fear River is close to being a pure damped progressive wave with a partial reflection in the narrowing channel around Wilmington, N.C. The considerable amount of dredging that has taken place in the past 100 years has resulted in significant physical parameter changes. The flow regime in the Cape Fear River is the result of gravitational effects caused by salinity intrusion, freshwater river flow, the river bathymetry, and channel structure. Salinity data indicate that the river changes from being partially mixed vertically to well mixed vertically as one progresses up the river.
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