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  1. Abstract Large-eddy simulations (LES) are employed to investigate the role of time-varying currents on the form drag and vortex dynamics of submerged 3D topography in a stratified rotating environment. The current is of the form U c + U t sin(2 πf t t ), where U c is the mean, U t is the tidal component, and f t is its frequency. A conical obstacle is considered in the regime of low Froude number. When tides are absent, eddies are shed at the natural shedding frequency f s , c . The relative frequency is varied in a parametric study, which reveals states of high time-averaged form drag coefficient. There is a twofold amplification of the form drag coefficient relative to the no-tide ( U t = 0) case when lies between 0.5 and 1. The spatial organization of the near-wake vortices in the high drag states is different from a Kármán vortex street. For instance, the vortex shedding from the obstacle is symmetric when and strongly asymmetric when . The increase in form drag with increasing stems from bottom intensification of the pressure in the obstacle lee which we link to changes in flow separation and near-wake vortices. 
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  2. Abstract

    Small low-inflow intermittently closed estuaries are common in Mediterranean climates worldwide; however, despite their important contributions to ecosystem services and coastal resilience, their dynamics have been less well studied relative to classical (i.e., deeper, persistent freshwater inflow) estuaries. It is known that infragravity wave propagation into these estuaries can induce strong currents and that closures lead to stagnating flows and declining water quality; however, how the estuarine circulation (tidal and subtidal) dynamically drives and responds to these conditions remains largely unknown. Here we analyze over 4 years of hydrodynamic observations in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, a low-inflow, intermittently closed estuary in Southern California, to examine wave propagation into the estuary, sill accretion, and the estuarine circulation response over tidal, fortnightly, seasonal, and interannual time scales, providing an unprecedented view as to how these systems respond to changing forcing. Wave observations near the estuary inlet show that wave energy inside the inlet, which contributes to sill accretion, is dependent on water level relative to the sill height and has a tidal variation due to wave-current interactions. Tidal phase averages of conditions during open, pre-closure, spring, neap, and closed conditions highlight the large dynamic range that these estuaries experience. During open, low sill conditions, circulation and stratification are consistent with stratification-induced periodic straining and subtidal exchange varies with the fortnightly cycle as observed in many classical estuaries. However, as the sill grows, tidal circulation weakens and becomes strongly sheared and the subtidal exchange no longer scales with a classical theoretical pressure-friction balance.

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  3. Land use and land cover (LULC) can significantly alter river water, which can in turn have important impacts on downstream coastal ecosystems by delivering nutrients that promote marine eutrophication and hypoxia. Well-documented in temperate systems, less is known about the way land cover relates to water quality in low-lying coastal zones in the tropics. Here we evaluate the catchment LULC and the physical and chemical characteristics of six rivers that contribute flow into a seasonally hypoxic tropical bay in Bocas del Toro, Panama. From July 2019 to March 2020, we routinely surveyed eight physical and chemical characteristics (temperature, specific conductivity, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), nitrate and nitrite, ammonium, and phosphate). Our goals were to determine how these physical and chemical characteristics of the rivers reflect the LULC, to compare the water quality of the focal rivers to rivers across Panama, and to discuss the potential impacts of river discharge in the Bay. Overall, we found that the six focal rivers have significantly different river water characteristics that can be linked to catchment LULC and that water quality of rivers 10 s of kilometers apart could differ drastically. Two focal catchments dominated by pristine peat swamp vegetation in San San Pond Sak, showed characteristics typical of blackwater rivers, with low pH, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients. The remaining four catchments were largely mountainous with >50% forest cover. In these rivers, variation in nutrient concentrations were associated with percent urbanization. Comparisons across Panamanian rivers covered in a national survey to our focal rivers shows that saltwater intrusions and low DO of coastal swamp rivers may result in their classification by a standardized water quality index as having slightly contaminated water quality, despite this being their natural state. Examination of deforestation over the last 20 years, show that changes were <10% in the focal catchments, were larger in the small mountainous catchments and suggest that in the past 20 years the physical and chemical characteristics of river water that contributes to Almirante Bay may have shifted slightly in response to these moderate land use changes. (See supplementary information for Spanish-language abstract). 
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  4. The interaction of coral reefs, both chemically and physically, with the surrounding seawater is governed, at the smallest scales, by turbulence. Here, we review recent progress in understanding turbulence in the unique setting of coral reefs?how it influences flow and the exchange of mass and momentum both above and within the complex geometry of coral reef canopies. Flow above reefs diverges from canonical rough boundary layers due to their large and highly heterogeneous roughness and the influence of surface waves. Within coral canopies, turbulence is dominated by large coherent structures that transport momentum both into and away from the canopy, but it is also generated at smaller scales as flow is forced to move around branches or blades, creating wakes. Future work interpreting reef-related observations or numerical models should carefully consider the influence that spatial variation has on momentum and scalar flux. 
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  5. Abstract

    Large eddy simulations are employed to investigate the role of tidal modulation strength on wake vortices and dissipation in flow past three‐dimensional topography, specifically a conical abyssal hill. The barotropic current is of the formUc + Ut sin(Ωtt), whereUcandUtare the mean and oscillatory components, respectively, and Ωtis the tidal frequency. A regime with strong stratification and weak rotation is considered. The velocity ratioR = Ut/Ucis varied from 0 to 1. Simulation results show that the frequency of wake vortices reduces gradually with increasingRfrom its natural shedding frequency atR = 0 to Ωt/2 whenR ≥ 0.2. The ratio ofRand the excursion number, denoted as, controls the shift in the vortex frequency. When, vortices are trapped in the wake during tidal deceleration, extending the vortex shedding cycle to two tidal cycles. Elevated dissipation rates in the obstacle lee are observed in the lateral shear layer, hydraulic jet, and the near wake. The regions of strong dissipation are spatially intermittent, with values exceedingduring the maximum‐velocity phase, whereDis the base diameter of the hill. The maximum dissipation rate during the tidal cycle increases monotonically withRin the downstream wake. Additionally, the normalized area‐integrated dissipation rate in the hydraulic response region scales withRas (1 + R)4. Results show that the wake dissipation energetically dominates the internal wave flux in this class of low‐Froude number geophysical flows.

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  6. null (Ed.)
  7. Abstract

    Wake vortices in tidally modulated currents past a conical hill in a stratified fluid are investigated using large‐eddy‐simulation. The vortex shedding frequency is altered from its natural steady‐current value leading to synchronization of wake vortices with the tide. The relative frequency (f*), defined as the ratio of natural shedding frequency (fs,c) in a current without tides to the tidal frequency (ft), is varied to expose different regimes of tidal synchronization. Whenf*increases and approaches 0.25, vortex shedding at the body changes from a classical asymmetric Kármán vortex street. The wake evolves downstream to restore the Kármán vortex‐street asymmetry but the discrete spectral peak, associated with wake vortices, is found to differ from bothftandfs,c, a novel result. The spectral peak occurs at the first subharmonic of the tidal frequency when 0.5 ≤ f*< 1 and at the second subharmonic when 0.25 ≤ f*< 0.5.

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