Surface salinity variations in the Juan de Fuca Strait: test of a predictive model

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Abstract

We present a predictive scheme for surface salinity variations in the Juan de Fuca Strait. The scheme is based on a two-layer box-model which incorporates the combined effects of freshwater runoff, tidal mixing and wind forcing. Estuarine outflow into the Juan de Fuca Strait encounters two sills on its way seawards: the key parameters of our model represent entrainment and mixing at those sills. The parameters are tuned to a best fit of years (1967-1972) of summertime surface salinity variations at the east end of the Juan de Fuca Strait (Race Rocks light station). Surface salinites are then predicted for the 12 years 1973-1984 and 1988 using fitted parameter values. Model results follow observations closely and fit best in years of high salinity variance. The model predicts particularly well fortnightly and monthly changes in salinity as well as freshening events associated with certain wind conditions. For the year 1988, current and water property data were also available at the seaward end of the Juan de Fuca Strait. Although our model was again successful at forecasting conditions in the eastern Strait, the link with property variations at the western entrance of the Strait was not very clear, suggesting the influence of other causes. © 1993.

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LeBlond, P. H., Griffin, D. A., & Thomson, R. E. (1994). Surface salinity variations in the Juan de Fuca Strait: test of a predictive model. Continental Shelf Research, 14(1), 37–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/0278-4343(94)90004-3

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