During winter months continental shelf waters are convectively cooled and shallow coastal regions become colder than deeper offshore waters where the same surface heat flux is distributed over a larger depth. The resulting temperature front adjusts to geostrophic equilibrium producing transient cross-shelf currents which decay with time as the system approaches a steady state. Additional short duration cooling events associated with the passage of local weather systems may be sufficient to re-establish the vertical orientation of the temperature front which will readjust to geostrophic equilibrium once the cooling event has ceased, producing transient cross-shelf circulation associated with the adjustment process. Observations of a temperature front in the entrance of a shallow bay on the southeastern coast of Australia are shown to be consistent with a two-dimensional time dependent numerical model. The model includes stratification and realistic bottom topography and is forced by surface cooling, which produces a temperature front which adjusts to geostrophic equilibrium. Numerical simulation of cooling events is shown to produce transient cross-shelf velocities of order 0.001-0.01 m s-1.