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ABOUT CROATIA

 

ADRIATIC SEA

 

The Adriatic sea got its name from an ancient port of the same name. The Adriatic spans from the Balkan to the Apennine peninsula. The part belonging to the Republic of Croatia is the east coast which extends all the way from Prevlaka in the south to cape Savudrija in the west, including all islands, islets and cliffs along the coast,and the archipelago of Palagruza (the number of islands, islets and cliffs is more than 1700).
This is a unique area in Europe for cruising with motor boats, speedboats, or sailboats, but also for enjoying the underwater world.

Hydro and Oceanographic Data

Depths
The shallowest part of our sea is in Istria, where the depth does not exceed 50 metres. From Pula, the seabed mildly drops, making a long, narrow valley which extends from Zirje towards Italy which is called Jabucka kotlina. The biggest depth there is about 240 meter. From Jabucka kotlina, the bottom rises to Palagruza reef where the biggest depth is 130 meter. Towards the south, the bottom drops steeply towards the Juzno jadranska dolina, where the biggest measured depth is about 1,300 meter.

Seabed
The appearance of the underwater relief is the consequence of tectonic movements, abrasion or erosion which were active several million years ago, in times when certain parts of the seabed were land or the coastal area. Uneven areas on the bottom are constantly reduced by sedimentation of detritus from the land. That process is slow, but constant.

Tides
In the Adriatic, the high and low tides have relatively small amplitudes. In the southern part, the difference is rarely above some forty centimeters, while in the northern part it is somewhat bigger, so that it comes to 1 metre in Istria and the Gulf of Trieste. In some narrow channels and bays, the high tide can grow considerably during a strong sirocco. That phenomenon is characteristic for big and deep bays of the southern Adriatic. The tides are of a mixed type, which means that their rhythm is semidiurnal during the new and full moon, and of a daily type during the first and the last quarter. Their amplitudes are very irregular.

Sea Currents
Sea currents occur under the influence of winds, the difference in pressure, temperature, and the differences in salinity. With respect to the direction, they can be horizontal or vertical. There are also bottom currents which appear as the consequence of moving of water from warmer areas to colder ones, during which the surface layer gets cold and descends towards the seabed. Currents are weakly observable in the Adriatic. The speed of currents changes in particular areas, but it also depends on time periods. The average speed of currents is about 0.5 knots, but they can also reach the speed of 4 knots.

Salinity of Sea
The total quantity of salt dissolved in one kilogram of sea water is called salinity, which is usually expressed in grams. The salinity of the Adriatic Sea is 38.30 per mill averagely, i.e. there is 38.30 g of salt dissolved in 1 kg of water. In the northern part, the salinity is somewhat lower than in the middle and southern part because of the influence of the Po River.

Sea Temperature
The Adriatic Sea has a very marked annual change of the surface temperature. The average annual temperature is 11°C. During the winter, the sea is the coldest and the surface temperature is about 7°C; very seldom, it can drop below that too. In the spring, the sea becomes warmer, and the surface temperature rises to 18°C. In the summer the surface of the sea reaches a very high temperature, of up to 22 to 25°C, and in the southern Adriatic and Istria up to 27°C. In the Adriatic, thermo cline, i.e. parts of the water column of the same temperature, are very well distinguished. The thermo cline is most evident during the summer, and, in the winter, the isothermal process arises, i.e. equaling of the temperature throughout the water column. In the summer, we can notice the first thermo cline at the depth of 3 to 5 meter, the next one is at about 12 meter, and yet another one at 18 meter, while below 30 meter the temperature is mostly constant throughout the year.

Waves in the Adriatic
Waves occur primarily as the consequence of the blowing of winds. The bigger the reach, i.e. the surface across which the wind blows, the higher the waves will be. Their strength depends on the configuration and the exposure of the coast. In that way, mixing of the surface layer with water from the deep is enabled, and the interaction between the atmosphere and the sea. We distinguish the crest and the trough of a wave. The length of the wave is the distance between two troughs. Most often, heights of waves in the Adriatic are between 0.5 and 1.5 meter, and they very rarely exceed 5 meter.

Preservation of the Adriatic
Aside from the rich cultural heritage, diverse natural resources and attractions characterize the Adriatic. Nature is specially protected according to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia. The state body with the special task of preserving nature is the Government Board for the preservation of nature.

The coastal region holds a special place, and therefore, there is a systematic policy of the preservation of nature through urban planning and managing of the sustainable development.

The institutes for research of the sea in Rovinj, Split and Dubrovnik carry out continuous biological, ecological and chemical research of the Adriatic. The project for the development of islands was recently introduced and should be an incentive for the development of our for islands. Except for the governmental bodies, there is also a whole range of associations which, through for for their programs and activities, help to preserve natural resources.

Croatian biological and Croatian ecological society carry out and support research projects of the Adriatic and its underwater area. There is also the project of the Good dolphin research in cooperation with the Tethy Institute from Milan and An Association Mediterranean Monk Seal which examines research of the areas which used to be inhabited by this sea mammal, Group of the friends of nature 'Our Lovely' who also work on the Blue flag project, Green flag and Eco School with the primary task of educating younger generations about ecological matters.

Life in the sea
Various animals and plants live in the Adriatic. We can distinguish two types of habitats: the plegic area or the area of the open sea where two big groups of organisms live plankton, that is to say, all organisms floating in the sea, and nektons or real swimmers, all organisms which can actively move around. The group of benthos, or life at the bottom of the sea, includes all organisms, which are constantly or occasionally connected to the sea bottom. In the water mass between the mentioned areas we can distinguish different belts or steps with different characteristics:
Supralythoral, which is the part, exposed to the spraying of the sea, Mediolythoral which is the area of the high and the low tide. Then comes infralitoral or the area of photophilic algae and, which in the Adriatic expands from the border of the low tide to 30-50 meters, Abyssal which reaches 50 to 200 meters, Hadal or the deep sea area, which extends more than 200 meters in depth.

Abyssal exists only in the southern part of the Adriatic, and in the area of the Jabuka basin, and hadal does not exist in our sea Crabs inhabit the supralythoral area of the Adriatic. Endemic algae, the Adriatic bladder wrack and sea anemone inhabit the mediolythoral area. In the infralythoral area, which is the largest one, many species of algae, corals, and different sorts of fish like sheepshead bream, the predatory yellow fish, ugly frog-fish, gilthead, goby, bamboo fish and many others.

The Adriatic eco-destination
The quality of the water in the Adriatic is very well preserved. The results reached through the constant measuring of the quality of water on more than 800 beaches are in accordance with the strictest criteria. Except for the cleanliness of the sea, another important quality of the coastal area is its biological and geographical particular quality, which can be seen in the number of species of plants and animals, and in the high number of endemic species (for example human fish).

In order to protect and preserve such natural wealth, a list of rare and endangered species, the so called Red Book, has been made. Various projects are carried out in Croatia by government institutions or associations of citizens with the goal of preserving natural and cultural heritage, and its evaluation. One of these projects is The Blue Flag Project, and from the year 2001, the project Green Key also starts with the goal of improving the quality of surroundings in hotels, motels, camps and other facilities. Another project is Eco habitat Green Laguna in Porec, where the environment is especially taken care of. Green Laguna has its olive groves, orchards, horse stables etc. where tourists can take active part in preserving the environment.

Through the year several days are especially marked in Croatia such as:
• International day for water preservation
• World meteorological day
• Day of the planet earth
• Day of the dolphins
• World day of preserving the environment
• Day of the Sun

Except for the natural, great significance lies on the preservation of cultural heritage, as well. National costumes and customs are preserved. During the summer, in most coastal towns special celebrations are organized in order to show tourists our local traditions, for example, traditional donkey race which is held each year in Tribunje, Moreska - knights, dance on Korcula.

Croatia is also, except for its ecological cleanliness of air and water, an exceptionally safe place where everybody feels pleasant and
welcome.

 

 

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