James H. Saylor, Larry J. Danek


A combination of Lagrangian measurements and fixed current meter moorings were used during the summer of 1974 and the winter of 1974-75 to determine the circulation patterns of Saginaw Bay. Because the bay is shallow, the water responds rapidly to wind changes. Distinct circulation patterns were determined for southwest and northeast winds. These directions parallel the major axis of the bay and were the prevailing wind directions during the study. A typical exchange rate between the inner , _. and outer bay during moderate winds aligned with the bay axis is 3700 m s '~s If sustained, this flushing rate would completely exchange the water of the inner bay in about 26.5 days. However, winds perpendicular to the axis of the bay cause little water to be exchanged and the residence time of water in the bay is much longer. Comparison of measured currents with the results of an indpendently-developed numerical model for the bay indicates there is good agreement between the observations and the simulation of the circulation in the shallow inner bay. Agreement is poor in the deeper outer bay, where specification of proper boundary conditions at the open mouth of the bay is important for meaningful model simulations. Ice cover during winter shields the water surface from wind stress. Currents are sluggish and driven almost entirely from interactions with the lakescale circulation of Lake Huron.


wind driven circulation; circulation; Saginaw Bay

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