B.S. Mathematics (2009)
Advisor: Steve Lentz, Physical Oceanography
Project: Understanding the Tides South of Martha’s Vineyard.
This past summer I worked with Steve Lentz in the Physical Oceanography Department to determine the characteristics of the tides south of Martha’s Vineyard. We looked at 5 sets of data that were collected over various time periods by pressure gauges and current meters from 13 moorings. The data includes a mooring on the 7m isobath, which is farther inshore than any previous tidal study has looked. I analyzed the data with T_tide in Matlab to extract maximum amplitudes and phases for the sea level, cross shelf velocity and along shelf velocity. The amplitudes and phases from the various studies were complied to give a comprehensive description of the tidal structure on the inner shelf and tidal variability across the shelf. We also worked on comparing the tidal observations a simple baroclinic model that assumes an along shelf pressure gradient. We found this model to be insufficient to model the complexities of the tides in the area. However the model was useful for learning about the predominate forces and momentum balances over this area of the continental shelf. We found a geostropic balance (Coriolis component and cross shelf pressure gradient dominant) for the cross shelf structure, minimal vertical transport, and the along shelf acceleration term to be of little significance. We also estimated nonlinear acceleration terms and a frictional bottom stress constant for the area.