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Revista de biología marina y oceanografía

On-line version ISSN 0718-1957


LETELIER, Jaime et al. Variability of wind, waves and currents in the northern region of the Chilean Patagonian fjords. Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. [online]. 2011, vol.46, n.3, pp.363-377. ISSN 0718-1957.

Measurements of currents, waves and winds were made in Seno de Reloncaví, Corcovado Gulf, (Pacific Coast/west area) of Chiloé and the Darwin Canal inlet. These observations were complemented with historical data, with the aim of determining wind, current and wave extreme values and local variability north of the Patagonic fjords in Chile. Results showed the predominance of the north wind and local wave regime (Hs < 0.5 m) for the north coast of Seno de Reloncaví. The west of Chiloé is characterized by long waves (Hs > 2 m) originating in the Pacific and the dominance of the south and southeast wind driven by regional circulation. In the area of Corcovado Gulf and the Darwin Canal inlet, the wind follows the direction of the topography, while at Italia Island local waves are predominant (Hs < 0.5 m). In Corcovado Gulf a combined local and long wave regime (Hs ~2m) was observed. Furthermore, results showed that the tide is the main coastal current forcing mechanism in the area of the fjords and canals, differing from that at Chiloé and Italia Island (Pacific Coast/west area), where wind is the main driver of coastal circulation. Differences found between both zones, especially between inlet and off the coast zones, north of the Patagonic fjords in Chile, are evidence that the topography plays a fundamental role in the wind and current directions.

Keywords : Chiloé; currents; waves.

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