2023 CSDMS meeting-082


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From the beach to the sea and back: how pollutants, nutrients, and organisms move in the coastal ocean

Melissa Moulton, (she/her),NCAR and UW Boulder , United States. melissarmoulton@gmail.com

Exchange of material across the nearshore region, extending from the shoreline to a few kilometers offshore, determines the concentrations of pathogens and nutrients near the coast and the transport of larvae, whose cross-shore positions influence dispersal and recruitment. Here, we describe a framework for estimating the relative importance of cross-shore exchange mechanisms, including winds, Stokes drift, rip currents, internal waves, and diurnal heating and cooling (Moulton et al., 2023). For each mechanism, we define an exchange velocity as a function of environmental conditions. The exchange velocity applies for organisms that keep a particular depth due to swimming or buoyancy. A related exchange diffusivity quantifies horizontal spreading of particles without enough vertical swimming speed or buoyancy to counteract turbulent velocities. This framework provides a way to determine which processes are important for cross-shore exchange for a particular study site, time period, and particle behavior. I will also describe approaches we've used to communicate the framework to different audiences, including an interactive tools developed by undergraduates. Moulton M, Suanda S, Garwood J, Kumar N, Fewings M, Pringle J. Exchange of Plankton, Pollutants, and Particles Across the Nearshore Region. Annual Review of Marine Science. 2023 January 16; 15(1):167-202. DOI:10.1146/annurev-marine-032122-115057