Coastal turbulence is highly heterogeneous



When fresh river water first flows into the salty coastal ocean, the two types of water remain highly stratified. However, the difference in velocity between the river and ocean waters can cause turbulence—chaotic motion that breaks through density barriers and promotes mixing. Understanding the role of turbulence in driving coastal water properties—from temperature to salinity to nutrient load distributions—requires a more complete understanding of the physics of coastal turbulence.