Advection, straining, and vertical mixing play are primary roles in the process of estuarine stratification. Estuaries can be classified as salt-wedge, partially-mixed or well-mixed ones depending on the vertical density structure determined by the balancing of advection, mixing and straining. In particular, straining plays a major role in the stratification of the estuarine water body along the estuarine channel. Also, the behavior of a salt wedge with a shape halocline shape in a stratified channel can be controlled by the competition between straining and mixing induced by buoyancy from the riverine source and the tidal forcing. The present study uses Finite Volume Coastal Ocean Model (FVCOM) to show that straining and vertical mixing play major roles in controlling along-channel flow and stratification structures in the Seomjin river estuary (SRE) under with an idealized conditions. The Potential Energy Anomaly (PEA) dynamic equation quantifies the governing processes thereby enabling the determination of the stratification type. By comparing terms in the equation, we examined how the relative strengths of straining and mixing alter the stratification types in the SRE due to changes in river discharge and the depth resulting from dredging activities. SRE under idealized tidal forcing tends to be the partially-mixed based on an as analysis of the zing the balance between terms and the vertical structure of salinity, and the morphological and hydrological change in SRE results in the shift of stratification type. While the depth affects the mixing, the freshwater discharge mainly controls the straining, and the balance between mixing and straining determines the final state of the stratification in an estuarine channel. As a result, the development and location of a salt wedge along the channel in a partially mixed and highly stratified condition is also determined by the ratio of straining to mixing. Finally, our findings confirm that the contributions of mixing and straining can be assessed by using the conventional non-dimensional parameters with respect to salt-wedge behavior.
estuarine stratification; salt-wedge; potential energy anomaly; straining; mixing