Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean & Earth Sciences



Committee Director

Larry P. Atkinson

Committee Member

Thomas C. Royer

Committee Member

Arnoldo Valle-Levinson

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.O35 K39 2005


Stratification in the water column can prove to be an important indicator to the state of the water column and ecosystem. The focus of this research is to evaluate trends in stratification in the Lower Chesapeake Bay. Detailed analysis was performed on a 14 year data set to study interannual variation in the region of study. Potential energy anomaly was used to quantify stratification. Potential energy anomaly is the amount of energy required to mix a water column. It is determined from the vertical density structure of density. Potential energy anomaly is the departure of potential energy from climate conditions. The research did find trends in the periodicity of the potential energy anomaly. Three stations are described in detail through this paper but 14 stations were evaluated by the methods in the paper. The work indicated an annual frequency through frequency analysis of the data. A secondary signal was one of approximately 3 years. An indicative station from the research was Station 6.3C that displayed periods of one year and three years from the analysis. The results could be further analyzed and explained in the future by increasing the number of stations in the northern part of the Bay and using more up to date data.


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