Date of Completion


Embargo Period



coastal, shallow, air-sea momentum flux, air-sea heat flux, carbon dioxide flux, salt marsh

Major Advisor

Dr. Melanie R. Fewings

Associate Advisor

Dr. Heidi M. Dierssen

Associate Advisor

Dr. James B. Edson

Associate Advisor

Dr. Craig R. Tobias

Associate Advisor

Dr. Jamie M.P. Vaudrey

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The exchange of mass and energy between the atmosphere and the surface below it is not well understood in shallow coastal ecosystems. This thesis addresses those exchanges in an intertidal salt marsh and a shallow embayment. Additionally, the effect of light scattering on albedo is studied with a radiative transfer model for test cases representing a wide range of coastal systems.

Over the marsh, the observed fluxes depend on the timing of both solar noon and tidal inundation. A carbon dioxide flux model incorporating these factors is developed and used to estimate the net vertical seasonal carbon exchange for the marsh system.

In the coastal embayment, the observed momentum and heat fluxes are compared to estimates generated by existing parameterizations. The COARE 3.5 bulk flux algorithm underestimates the observed wind stress, but estimates observed values well after a simple modification to the roughness length parameterization. Unexpectedly, the buoyancy flux estimated by COARE 3.5 is in good agreement with observations.

The radiative transfer model indicates a commonly used open-ocean parameterization of albedo provides a reasonable estimate of net shortwave heat flux in most shallow coastal waters with depths > 1 m. The exceptions are environments with bright sand bottoms or highly turbid water. Guidance is provided to researchers who need to determine albedo in highly reflective or highly turbid conditions but have no direct observations.

This thesis illustrates the potential consequences of using parameterizations developed in non-coastal environments, and provides examples of how to modify the parameterizations for successful use in shallow ecosystems.