Extreme bed shear stress during coastal downwelling

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The wind-driven circulation of coastal oceans has been studied for many decades. Using a 2.5-dimensional hydrodynamic model, this work unravels new aspects inherent with this circulation. In agreement with previous studies, downwelling-favorable coastal winds create an overturning cross-shelf circulation that operates to mix nearshore water. On timescales of days, this circulation tends to eliminate itself causing a “shutdown” of the cross-shelf circulation. For the first time, here, the author demonstrates that this shutdown is accompanied by creation of a zone of extremely high bed shear stresses (> 0.35 Pa) that operates to “plow” the seabed over an offshore distance of ~ 10–20 km. The author postulates that the associated sediment erosion episodes and their likely ammonification of the water column are key in the understanding of the biogeochemistry shaping coastal marine ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-597
Number of pages17
JournalOcean Dynamics
Early online date18 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Bed shear stress
  • Coastal downwelling
  • Coastal oceanography
  • Process-oriented hydrodynamic modelling


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