Current temporal asymmetry and the role of tides: Nan-Wan Bay vs. the Gulf of Elat

Yosef Ashkenazy*, Erick Fredj, Hezi Gildor, Gwo Ching Gong, Hung Jen Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Nan-Wan Bay in Taiwan and the Gulf of Elat in Israel are two different coastal environments, and as such, their currents are expected to have different statistical properties. While Nan-Wan Bay is shallow, has three open boundaries, and is directly connected to the open ocean, the Gulf of Elat is deep, semi-enclosed, and connected to the Red Sea via the Straits of Tiran. Surface currents have been continuously measured with fine temporal (less than or equal to 1ĝ€-h) and spatial resolution (less than or equal to 1ĝ€-km) for more than a year in both environments using coastal radars (CODARs) that cover a domain of roughly 10ĝ€- × ĝ€-10ĝ€-km. These measurements show that the currents in Nan-Wan Bay are much stronger than those in the Gulf of Elat and that the mean current field in Nan-Wan Bay exhibits cyclonic circulation, which is stronger in the summer; in the Gulf of Elat, the mean current field is directed southward and is also stronger during the summer. We have compared the statistical properties of the current speeds in both environments and found that both exhibit large spatial and seasonal variations in the shape parameter of the Weibull distribution. However, we have found fundamental and significant differences when comparing the temporal asymmetry of the current speed (i.e., the ratio between the time during which the current speed increases and the total time). While the Nan-Wan Bay currents are significantly asymmetric, those of the Gulf of Elat are not. We then extracted the tidal component of the Nan-Wan Bay currents and found that it is strongly asymmetric, while the asymmetry of tidally filtered currents is much weaker. We thus conclude that the temporal asymmetry of the Nan-Wan Bay currents reported here is due to the strong tides in the region. We show that the asymmetry ratio in Nan-Wan Bay varies spatially and seasonally: (i) the currents increase rapidly and decay slowly in the northern part of the domain and vice versa in the southern part, and (ii) the asymmetry is stronger during summer.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)733-742
Number of pages10
JournalOcean Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 27 May 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) 2016.


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