Adriatic was named after Adria, a town that used to be a port on Italian coast, and today it is located 38 km inland. This is a result of various geological forces that cause constant rising of the north coasts, and constant lowering of the south coasts. Adriatic comprises the area between the Balkan and the Apennine Peninsulas. The east side, stretching from Prevlaka in the south to Savudrija in the north belongs to Croatia. It is a unique area, for both boating and enjoying the underwater world.
The sea is the shallowest in Istria where maximum depth reaches only 50 m. From Pula, the sea bottom mildly lowers, creating a long and narrow valley, going from the island of Žirje towards Italy. This is called the Jabučka kotlina. The maximum depth reaches 240 m. From this area the seabed rises towards Palagruža Reef, lowering the maximum depth to 130. After this point the seabed lowers steeply towards South Adriatic Valley where the highest measured depth reaches 1,300 m.
Tides have relatively small amplitudes in Adriatic. In the south area, the amplitudes rarely reach 40 cm, and in Istria and Bay of Trieste it rises up to about 1 m. In narrow channels and bays, high tides can get pretty high during the strong SW wind. This phenomenon is characteristic for large and deep bays of south Adriatic. Tides change on semidiurnal basis during the full and new moon and on daily basis during the first and last quarter. Their amplitudes are very irregular.
Sea currents are influenced by winds, changes in air pressure, temperatures and salinity of the sea. They can be vertical and horizontal in direction. There are also sea currents that rise from the bottom. Sea currents are difficult to notice in the Adriatic. Their speed changes depending on the area and seasons. Average sped is about 0.5 knots, but sometimes they can reach speed of 4 knots.
Average salinity of Adriatic is 38.3‰. Southern waters are somewhat saltier, due to the influence of the river Po.
Average yearly temperature: 11°C. The sea is the coldest in winter, and the temperature on the surface is around 7°C (it rarely drops below that). In the spring, surface temperature rises up to 18°C. Summer temperatures reach high 22-25°C, and in the summer Adriatic and in Istria even 27°C.
Adriatic waves usually reach 0.5 – 1.5 m in height. Very rarely they rise above 5 m. Although they are not high, the waves in Adriatic can be very unpleasant, even dangerous. Southern winds cause higher waves than the northern ones, but that doesn’t mean they are more dangerous. The highest wave ever measured caused by Jugo was 10.8m, and from Bora 7.2m
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