Researchers from Penn State and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science are studying the Chesapeake Bay to see how changes in sea level may have affected the salinity of various parts of the estuary.
"Many have hypothesized that sea-level rise will lead to an increase in estuarine salinity, but the hypothesis has never been evaluated using observations or 3-D models of estuarine flow and salinity," says Timothy W. Hilton, graduate student in meteorology at Penn State.
"The Chesapeake is very large, the largest estuary in the U.S. and it is very productive," says Raymond Najjar, associate professor of meteorology. "It has been the site of many large fisheries and supported many fishermen. A lot of money has gone into cleaning up the bay and reducing nutrient and sediment inputs. Climate change might make this work easier, or it could make it harder."
The Chesapeake is naturally saltier near its mouth and fresher near the inflow of rivers. The researchers, who also included Ming Li and Liejun. Zhong of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, studied the Chesapeake Bay, using two complementary approaches, one based on a statistical analysis of historical data and one based on a computer model of the bay's flow and salinity.
They looked at historical data for the Susquehanna River as it flows into the Chesapeake Bay from 1949 to 2006. The flow of this fresh water into the bay naturally changes salinity. After accounting for the change in salinity due to rivers, the researchers found an increasing trend in salinity. The researchers reported their results in a recent edition of Journal of Geophysical Research.
The team then ran a hydrodynamic model of the Bay using present-day and reduced sea level conditions. The salinity change they found was consistent with the trend determined from the statistical analysis, supporting the hypothesis that sea-level rise has significantly increased salinity in the Bay. However, the Penn State researchers note that historical salinity data is limited and sedimentation reshapes the bed of the Bay. There are also cyclical effects partially due to Potomac River flow, Atlantic Shelf salinity and winds.
"Salt content affects jelly fish, oysters, sea grasses and many other forms of aquatic life," says Hilton. "The Chesapeake Bay is a beautiful place, used for recreation and for people's livelihoods. It is a real jewel on the East Coast and changes in salinity can alter its uses. Our research improves our understanding of the influence of climate change on the Bay and can therefore be used to improve costly restoration strategies."
A'ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents
12.12.2017 | Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas
11.12.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering