MacDonald, Daniel G. Department of Estuarine and Ocean Science, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Dyer, K. R. Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, Somerset, United Kingdom.
- Topographic classification
- Physical structure and circulation
- River plumes
- Flushing and pollution-dispersal prediction
- Mathematical modeling
- Ecological environments
- Fine-grained material
- Turbidity maximum
- Mud flats and tidal marshes
- Coarse-grained material
- Salt-wedge patterns
- Fiord patterns
- Bar-built estuary patterns
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The study of the physical, chemical, biological, and geological characteristics of estuaries. An estuary is a semienclosed coastal body of water which has a free connection with the sea and within which the seawater is measurably diluted by freshwater derived from land drainage. Many characteristic features of estuaries extend into the coastal areas beyond their mouths; and because the techniques of measurement and analysis are similar, the field of estuarine oceanography is often considered to include the study of some coastal waters which, by the above definition, are not strictly estuaries. Also, semienclosed bays and lagoons exist in which evaporation is equal to or exceeds freshwater inflow, so that the salt content either is equal to that of the sea or exceeds it. Hypersaline lagoons have been termed negative estuaries, whereas those with precipitation and river inflow equaling evaporation have been called neutral estuaries. Positive estuaries, in which river inflow and precipitation exceed evaporation, form the majority.
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