ABSTRACT

Solana, G.; Grifoll, M., and Espino, M, 2020. Hydrographic variability and estuarine classification of Inhambane Bay (Mozambique). In: Malvárez, G. and Navas, F. (eds.), Global Coastal Issues of 2020. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 95, pp. 649–653. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

This study investigates the hydrographic variability and the estuarine classification obtained from a set of field campaign data in Inhambane Bay (Mozambique). In situ measured salinity, temperature and sea-level data, together with Sea Surface Temperature (SST) obtained from GHRSST project, enabled to investigate the seasonal and inter-annual variability of the hydrography of the bay. Inhambane Bay is a bifurcated two-channel bar-built estuary with an along-coast channel of 30.5 km and a secondary channel of 12.5 km. In terms of tidal classification, Inhambane Bay is classified into the meso-tidal category forced by semi-diurnal tides with a Form Number equal to 0.04. The maximum observed tidal range is ∼3.41 m, with mean spring and neap tidal ranges of ∼2.61 m and ∼1.34 m, respectively. Also, the mean salinity profiles are practically uniform (well-mixed estuary) due to the strong tidal forcing being the Richardson Estuarine number below 0.08. The flushing time is estimated between 1 and 3 days. The characterization presented in this research is novel in the region and involves for the first time systematic in situ observations. The conclusions may be useful for similar unexplored areas along the Mozambican coast.

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