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Open-File Report 2014–1130

Coastal Circulation and Water-Column Properties in the War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Guam—Measurements and Modeling of Waves, Currents, Temperature, Salinity, and Turbidity, April–August 2012

By Curt D. Storlazzi, Olivia M. Cheriton, Jamie M.R. Lescinski, and Joshua B. Logan

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (13.9 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) initiated an investigation in the National Park Service’s (NPS) War in the Pacific National Historical Park (WAPA) to provide baseline scientific information on coastal circulation and water-column properties along west-central Guam, focusing on WAPA’s Agat Unit, as it relates to the transport and settlement of coral larvae, fish, and other marine organisms. The oceanographic data and numerical circulation modeling results from this study demonstrate that circulation in Agat Bay was strongly driven by winds and waves at longer (>1 day) timescales and by the tides at shorter (<1 day) timescales; near-surface currents in deep water were primarily controlled by the winds, whereas currents on the shallow reef flats were dominated by wave-driven motions. Water-column properties exhibited strong seasonality coupled to the shift from the trade wind to the non-trade wind season. During the dry trade-wind season, waters were cooler and more saline. When the winds shifted to a more variable pattern, waters warmed and became less saline because of a combination of increased thermal insolation from lack of wind forcing and higher rainfall. Turbidity was relatively low in Agat Bay and was similar to levels measured elsewhere along west-central Guam. The numerical circulation modeling results provide insight into the potential paths of buoyant material released from a series of locations along west-central Guam under summer non-trade wind forcing conditions that characterize coral spawning events. This information may be useful in evaluating the potential zones of influence/impact resulting from transport by surface currents of material released from these select locations.

First posted July 31, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Pacific Science Center
400 Natural Bridges Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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Suggested citation:

Storlazzi, C.D., Cheriton, O.M., Lescinski, J.M.R., and Logan, J.B., 2014, Coastal circulation and water-column properties in the War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Guam—Measurements and modeling of waves, currents, temperature, salinity, and turbidity, April–August 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1130, 104 p.,

ISSN 2331–1258 (online)





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