Alternate Title

Classification of Mississippi Sound as to Estuary Hydrological Type

Document Type

Short Communication


Mississippi Sound is classified as to estuary hydrological type by the method of Pritchard (1955). Differences in salinity between surface and near-bottom water were calculated from 2,401 pairs of observations made at 90 stations from 4 April 1973 to 12 April 1977. Frequency distribution tables, constructed by tallying the vertical salinity differences into three classes corresponding to three of Pritchard's estuary types (A, stratified; B, partially mixed; D, well mixed) were used to assess salinity structure of the water column. The greatest variation as to type occurred from January through June. From July through December, the water column becomes predominately uniform. Mississippi Sound is shown to be primarily well mixed with approximately one-third of the observations indicating partially mixed and less than 2% being stratified. The channels are characteristically stratified or partially mixed. The results of this study were in good agreement with the previous classification by another method by the author which confirms that while dominately well mixed, Mississippi Sound also attains the characteristics of a partially mixed estuary and, highly localized, characteristics of a stratified estuary.

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