Geophysical Research Letters

Sea breeze forcing of estuary turbulence and air-water CO2 exchange



[1] The sea breeze is often a dominant meteorological feature at the coastline, but little is known about its estuarine impacts. Measurements at an anchored catamaran and meteorological stations along the Hudson River and New York Bay estuarine system are used to illustrate some basic characteristics and impacts of the feature. The sea breeze propagates inland, arriving in phase with peak solar forcing at seaward stations, but several hours later at up-estuary stations. Passage of the sea breeze front raises the water-to-air CO2 flux by 1–2 orders of magnitude, and drives turbulence comparable to spring tide levels in the upper meter of the water column, where most primary productivity occurs in this highly turbid system. Modeling and observational studies often use remotely-measured winds to compute air-water fluxes (e.g., momentum, CO2), and this leads to a factor of two flux error on sea breeze days during the study.