Salinity and Dissolved-Oxygen Dynamics in a Wind-Driven Estuary

by Jerad D. Bales, (M.ASCE),
R. G. Garrett,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Water levels, near-surface and near-bottom salinities, and near-surface and near-bottom dissolved-oxygen concentrations were measured continuously in the Pamlico River estuary, North Carolina, for the period 1989-92. Top-to-bottom salinity differences decreased from upstream to downstream. Most of the fluctuation in stratification was the result of variation in bottom salinity. Low dissolved-oxygen concentrations occur throughout the year in the estuary. Near-bottom dissolved-oxygen concentrations were strongly related to top-to-bottom salinity differences, particularly in the summer. When low-pass filtered top-to-bottom salinity differences increased to more than 3 to 4 parts per thousand, low-pass filtered near-bottom dissolved-oxygen values quickly declined to less than 2 milligrams per liter.

Subject Headings: Dissolved oxygen | Salt water | Estuaries | Salinity | Rivers and streams | Wind engineering | Water quality | North Carolina

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