assessments from a tropical ria and a temperate coastal plain estuary
Data on optical properties such as diffuse attenuation coefficient Kd(PAR), beam attenuation coefficient (cp) and the optically active constituents (OACs) CDOM, Chl-a and suspended particulate matter were obtained in a Danish temperate coastal plain estuary (56°N) and a Vietnamese tropical ria (12°N) at high discharges. The major difference was the spatial distribution of the optical properties against distance, best described by significant power functions in the ria, compared to significant linear functions in the coastal plain. It was hypothesized that estuarine morphometry could explain this spatial distribution. Partition and multiple regression analyses showed that Chl-a governed Kd(PAR) and beam attenuation coefficient in both estuaries. Significant, high correlations were obtained by multiple regression analyses in the estimation of Kd(PAR) and beam attenuation coefficients in the two estuaries using OACs as input parameters. It is concluded that there are no large differences in OAC concentrations between the two estuaries. The spatial distributions of OACs and optical properties were significantly different and governed by the estuary morphometry, i.e. a power distribution in the tropical ria and a linear function in the temperate coastal plain estuary, and applicable to similar estuary types.