Marine Science Faculty Publications

Influences of Channel Deepening and Widening on the Tidal and Nontidal Circulations of Tampa Bay

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channel alteration effects, estuary circulation, high-resolution modeling, tampa bay, tidal and nontidal variations

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A high-resolution, three-dimensional coastal ocean circulation model is applied to Tampa Bay to determine the effects that channel deepening and widening may have on the estuary’s tidal and nontidal circulations. The model domain includes all of Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, the Intra-coastal Waterway, and the adjoining rivers. With resolution as high as 20 m, the model resolves the main shipping channels, the bridge causeways, and all important inlet mass conveyances. Model evaluations are made against in situ data and a previously published, relatively lower-resolution version. By deepening and widening the shipping channels for the purpose of accommodating larger vessels, our results suggest an increase in tidal range and a decrease in tidal phase from the mouth to the head of the bay. Along with these tidal effects, our results also suggest an increase in the nontidal circulation, resulting in an increase in salinity and attendant consequences to the estuary’s ecology.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Estuaries and Coasts, v. 38, issue 1, p. 132-150