Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 11 Issue 01

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Volume 11, No. 1
Pages 51 - 57

A Quantitative Littoral Classification System

A. BrandtJ. CalmanJ.R. Rottier
First Paragraph

A general approach for quantitative classification of littoral sites has been developed. The approach uses dimensionless parameters to describe the processes in a specific area of physics (e.g., ocean physics, meteorology, acoustics, etc.) and in a particular coastal geographic configuration (e.g., shelves, straits, enclosed seas, rivers, etc.). As a first application, a littoral classification system has been developed to describe the physical oceanographic processes on coastal continental shelves. This system incorporates four dimensionless parameters to describe the large-scale ocean features that characterize specific coastal regions: eddies, upwelling, currents, and stratification. Seven diverse worldwide sites have been compared using these classification parameters, illustrating their differences and similarities. This classification system is then used to address a specific coastal issue: the dispersion of a point discharge in the surface layer.


Brandt, A., J. Calman, and J.R. Rottier. 1998. A quantitative littoral classification system. Oceanography 11(1):51–57, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1998.16.