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Trends in Salinities and Flushing Times of Georgia Estuaries


Authors: Merryl Alber and Joan E. Sheldon (Dept of Marine Sciences, Univ of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA)

Citation: Proceedings of the 1999 Georgia Water Resources Conference, Athens, GA (K.J. Hatcher, editor) The Institute of Ecology, Univ. of Georgia, pp.528-531.

PDF: The full paper is available here -- (opens in new window)

Overview:
1973-1992, the Georgia EPD sponsored a monitoring program in which surface salinities were sampled regularly at fixed stations in many of Georgia’s estuaries. We used these data to examine changes in the salinities and flushing times of the Savannah, Ogeechee, Altamaha, Satilla, and St. Marys estuaries over the period of record.

Findings:

  • Water-year average salinities increased slightly over time in four of the five estuaries (the increases in salinity were statistically significant in the Satilla and Savannah River estuaries).
  • Flushing times (average transit time of river water through an estuary) averaged 28 d in the Ogeechee, 7 d in the Altamaha, 63 d in the Satilla, and 65 d in the St. Marys, although there was considerable inter-annual variability in these estimates.

[See also: Alber, M. and Sheldon, J. E. 1999. Use of a Date-specific Method to Examine Variability in the Flushing Times of Georgia Estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 49:469-482.]

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This page was updated October 13, 2006