Fontán, Almudena, González, Manuel, Wells, Neil, Collins, Michael, Mader, Julien, Ferrer, Luis, Esnaola, Ganix and Uriarte, Adolfo
Tidal and wind-induced circulation within the Southeastern limit of the Bay of Biscay: Pasaia Bay, Basque Coast
Continental Shelf Research, 29, (8), . (doi:10.1016/j.csr.2008.12.013).
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The Basque coastal area, in the southeastern Bay of Biscay, can be characterised as being more influenced by land climate and inputs, than other typically ‘open sea’ areas. The influence of coastal processes, together with the presence of irregular and steep topography, complicate greatly the water circulation patterns. Water movement along the Basque coastal area is not well understood; observations are scarce and long-term current records are lacking. The knowledge available is confined to the surface currents: the surface water circulation is controlled mainly by wind forcing, with tidal and density currents being weak. However, there is a lack of knowledge available on currents within the lower levels of the water column; likewise, on the main time-scales involved in the water circulation. This study quantifies the contribution of the tidal and wind-induced currents, to the overall water circulation; it identifies the main time-scales involved within the tidal and wind-induced flows, investigating difference in such currents, throughout the water column, within Pasaia Bay (Basque coast). Within this context, extensive oceanographic and meteorological data have been obtained, in order to describe the circulation. The present investigation reveals that the circulation, within the surface and the sub-surface waters, is controlled mainly by wind forcing fluctuations, over a wide range of meteorological frequencies: third-diurnal, semidiurnal and diurnal land–sea breezes; synoptic variability; frequencies, near fortnightly periods; and seasonal. At the lower levels of the water column, the main contribution to the water circulation arises from residual currents, followed by wind-induced currents on synoptic time-scales. In contrast, tidal currents contribute minimally to the overall circulation throughout the water column.
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