Sediment re-suspension processes along the Australian north-west shelf revealed by ocean gliders

Charitha Pattiaratchi, G.L. de Oliveira

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Major drivers of sediment re-suspension events result from forcing through tides, winds, density currents and internal waves whilst extreme events such as tropical cyclones also provide infrequent strong forcing. In this paper, sediment re-suspension events over the Australian north-west continental shelf off Pilbara are identified using an ocean glider transect and moored instruments. Ocean gliders are autonomous vehicles which provide high temporal and spatial resolution vertical profiles on temperature, salinity, particle backscatter. Data collected during a glider transect in September 2013 are presented together with current and vertical temperature structure obtained at two moorings located at 100m and 200m water depths. Although tidal action was the main background forcing, there were re-suspension events which can be related to a variety of different dominant processes related to vertical stratification: (1) effect of gravity currents; and, (2) strong tidal forcing and internal waves. Gravity currents result from a cross-shelf density gradient drivenby cooling and evaporation and is clearly identified from the salinity distribution. Majority of the sediment re-suspension events in water depths ~50m were related to maximum flood/ebb currents whist in water depths > 130 m the tidal period the re-suspension events were related internal wave action.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference
EditorsG Ivey, N Jones, T Zhou
PublisherAustralasian Fluid Mechanics Society
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-1-74052-377-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference - University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Duration: 5 Dec 20168 Dec 2016
Conference number: 20


Conference20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference
Abbreviated titleAFMC
Internet address


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