Physical characteristics of wave-dominated estuaries

  1. Wave-dominated estuaries are distinguished by relatively high wave energy at the mouth compared to tide energy.
  2. Near the mouth, total energy is high due to the summation of high wave and tide energies.
  3. Near the head, total energy is high due to high river energy. River energy declines downstream due to a reduction in downstream hydraulic gradient.
  4. In the middle of the estuary, total energy is low because waves cannot penetrate the estuary, and because tidal energy is dissipated on the ebb- and flood-tide deltas.

Physical characteristics of a Wave-dominated Estuary

(After Heap et al. 2001)

Back to top of page