A Field and Modeling Study of Residual Circulation in Sarasota Bay and Tampa Bay, Florida

by Y. P. Sheng, Univ of Florida, Gainesville, United States,
S. J. Peene, Univ of Florida, Gainesville, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Estuarine and Coastal Modeling


Based on analysis of current data at three distinct locations within the Sarasota/Tampa Bay system, we defined the residual circulation patterns and the relative influences by tides, wind and baroclinicity. Along with the data analysis, a three-dimensional curvilinear grid model was applied to the estuarine system to quantify the spatial variations in the residual circulation. Results from the model were compared with measured data to determine the accuracy of the model simulation. The model successfully simulated the general circulation characteristics at the two Sarasota Bay stations, although the magnitude of the currents was underestimated at one station. The model did not faithfully simulate the residual circulation in Tampa Bay. Both the data and the model results showed the predominant forcing mechanism for residual flow in Sarasota Bay to be non-linear tidal forcing associated with the complex lagoon geometry and bathymetry. The data at the entrance to Tampa Bay showed the classic baroclinic circulation with inflow near the bottom and outflow at the surface.

Subject Headings: Field tests | Bays | Simulation models | Tides | Model accuracy | Water circulation | Three-dimensional analysis | Three-dimensional flow | Florida | United States | Tampa

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