The Merrimack River discharges into New England coastal waters in northern Massachusetts. As part of the Mermade (Merrimack River Mixing and Divergence Experiments). We are working with investigators from the University of Massachusetts and Texas A&M to better understand the dynamics of this mid-size plume. As a team, we use a combination of laboratory, field and numerical model experiments to understand how the plume, which initially enters the ocean as an inertial jet, is transformed into a geostrophic coastal current.
We are carrying out detailed laboratory experiments to understand the relationship between the bulk properties of a plume (e.g. frontal propagation rate, lateral spreading) and the shear-driven mixing at the base of the plume. In the video below we show vertical sections of velocity and density along the centerline of a laboratory generated plume. The experiments use PIV-PLIF to measure velocity and density, respectively, in a 2.5 m by 4 m plume basin in the Harris Hydraulics Laboratory at UW.
People: Yeping Yuan, Maggie Avener, Alex Horner-Devine
Funding: National Science Foundation