Studies over a period of several decades have resulted in a relatively simple set of equations describing the tidally and width-averaged balances of momentum and salt in a rectangular estuary. The authors rewrite these equations in a fully nondimensional form that yields two nondimensional variables: (i) the estuarine Froude number and (ii) a modified tidal Froude number. The latter is the product of the tidal Froude number and the square root of the estuarine aspect ratio. These two variables are used to define a prognostic estuary classification scheme, which compares favorably with published estuarine data.
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