Frontal-induced hydrographic responses of the Texas bays.
Ward, G.H., Jr.
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Climatologically, the Texas coast is dominated by onshore, prevailing south- to-southwesterly winds governed by the circulation about the Azore-Bermuda High. The Frontal passages associated with these midlatitude systems have important effects upon circulation of the Texas bays. Frontal passages produce dramatic hydrographic responses due to the abrupt changes in wind velocity and pressure. The character of the Gulf inlets plays an important role in modulating the response of a bay system to meteorological forcing. From an analysis of this frontal system and three historical frontal passages of similar morphology, the essential features of the response of Sabine Lake to the front were determined. Approximately one-fourth of the water level response was determined to be forced by inverse barometer, and the remainder by windstress effects. Most important perhaps was the observation that the frontal plunge and resurgences at the Gulf lead similar responses within the southern part of Sabine Lake which in turn lead those in the northern part of the bay, implying that the response of the bay is not directly induced by the windstress on the bay but rather is indirectly produced by water level variations in the Gulf.