Spatial and Seasonal Patterns of Salinity in a Large and Shallow Tropical Estuary of the Western Caribbean
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- Carrillo, L., Palacios-Hernández, E., Yescas, M. et al. Estuaries and Coasts (2009) 32: 906. doi:10.1007/s12237-009-9196-2
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Salinity profiles and meteorological data were analyzed during February, May, and September 2006 in Chetumal Bay, a large, shallow estuary of the Western Caribbean. Local meteorological conditions revealed three seasons: (1) a dry season (March–May); (2) a wet season (June–October); and (3) the nortes season, with northerly wind events (October–February). During the nortes and wet seasons, salinity ranged between 13 and 16 psu, and salinity was highest in the dry season, ranging between 18 and 22 psu over most of the area; a strong stratification and a significant contribution of salty water characterized this season. Strong horizontal gradients were observed near Rio Hondo during the three seasons. Deep and narrow peculiar bathymetric features called the pozas showed a strong stratification and a relatively high salinity. The northern part of Chetumal Bay and probably the entire system are far from being homogeneous.