Surface currents measured by HF Doppler radar as part of a study of the Chesapeake Bay outflow plume are examined using a 'real-vector' empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis (Kaihatu et al., 1998). Based on about 23 days of nearly continuous data, the analysis shows that the first three EOF modes, judged to be the only significant modes, account for 76% of the variance in the data set. The buoyant outflow occurs primarily in the mean flow field. The first EOF mode is dominated by wind forcing and the second mode by across-shelf semi-diurnal tidal forcing. The third mode exhibits a large-scale horizontal shear and contains a curved region of weak relative flow which appears to delineate the offshore edge of the plume; also, the third-mode response varies over the spring-neap cycle, suggesting a modulation of the outflow plume by a tidal residual eddy. The analysis therefore has provided a useful, exploratory examination of this dataset of surface currents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science