Influence of a Drought Event on Hydrological Characteristics of a Small Estuary on the Amazon Mangrove Coast
The effects of atypical climatic conditions, such as those of a drought event, are remarkably accentuated in minor estuaries filled with sediments and with reduced or sporadic freshwater input, where the salinity intrusion is pronounced. To understand these effects, hydrological and hydrodynamic parameters were evaluated during a drought period in a small estuary located on the eastern Amazon coast in northern Brazil. Five campaigns were conducted between June 2012 and June 2013. Samples were collected from the surface and bottom layer every 3 h over a 25-h period at three stations of the Taperaçu Estuary. To compare drought and post-drought periods, in terms of salinity and chlorophyll-a, data was recorded until June 2015. Taperaçu is a relatively shallow estuary of the Amazon coastal zone, which is characterized by the absence of any direct fluvial discharge, although it does receive freshwater input from adjacent wetlands, as well as less saline waters from the Caeté Estuary through the Taici Creek. Hydrological variables were controlled by rainfall levels and the tidal range, and the water became more saline and more oxygenated, with reduced dissolved nutrient and chlorophyll-a concentrations when precipitation decreased. A significant variation was found between the months of June 2012 (most intense drought) and 2013 (less intense drought). The connection to the neighboring Caeté Estuary and adjacent mangroves and wetlands contributed to the influx of nutrient-enriched waters. Overall, then, it is hoped that the results of this study can contribute to the understanding of the effects of drought events in other minor estuaries on the highly indented Amazon coast, as well as in other areas of the equatorial zone with similar environmental characteristics.
KeywordsEstuarine dynamics Drought Mangroves Small estuary Amazon coast
This study was financed by CNPq, through a Universal project (483913/2012-0), and by Capes (Ciências do Mar II, Edital 43/2013). The authors Pereira LCC (310909/2014-7 and 200629/2014–0) and Costa RM (309527/2014–7 and 200622/2014–5) would also like to thank CNPq for their research grants, and Costa AK and Magalhães A are grateful to CAPES for research grants.
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