Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Research article
12 Apr 2016
Research article |  | 12 Apr 2016

Seasonal hydrography and surface outflow in a fjord with a deep sill: the Reloncaví fjord, Chile

Manuel I. Castillo, Ursula Cifuentes, Oscar Pizarro, Leif Djurfeldt, and Mario Caceres

Abstract. Seasonal data on temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO) and chlorophyll, combined with meteorological and river discharge time series, were used to describe the oceanographic conditions of the Reloncaví fjord (41°35′ S, 72°20′ W). The winds in the fjord valley mainly blow down-fjord during the winter, reinforcing the upper layer outflow, whereas the winds blow predominantly up-fjord during the spring and summer, contrary to the upper layer outflow. The fjord, with a deep sill at the mouth, was well stratified year-round and featured a thin surface layer of brackish water with mean salinities between 10.4 ± 1.4 (spring) and 13.2 ± 2.5 (autumn). The depth of the upper layer changed slightly among the different studied seasons but remained at 4.5 m near the mouth. This upper layer presented a mean outflow (Q1) of 3185 ± 223 m3 s−1, which implies a flushing time of 3 days for this layer. The vertical salt flux was  ∼  37 tons of salt per second, similar to the horizontal salt flux observed in the upper layer. These estimates will contribute to better management of the aquaculture in this region.

Short summary
The upper layer of the Reloncaví fjord, Chile, shows a continuous stratification year-round. Nevertheless, the vertical salt flux seems to be balanced by the horizontal salt flux, which maintains the amount of salt into the fjord nearly as a steady state. The upper layer shows a flushing time of about 3 days.