Existing databases


How to measure

Available data


Towards the creation of a free-access database of estuarine morphology and hydrodynamics

(Marco Toffolon and Hubert H.G. Savenije)


This project aims at collecting data about estuarine geometry, morphology, and hydraulics, with a specific focus on the hydraulic/hydrological description and the geomorphological processes. As a matter of fact, a significant amount of papers have been published reporting this kind of data. Nevertheless, we are not aware of a place where the whole data have been collected together, compared, classified and made available to the public. We feel that sharing data and letting people analyze them is crucial for scientific improvements.

We are aware that some "estuarine databases" already exist, though most of them are more concerned with ecological problems. See existing databases


Data of interest

The main data to be collected for hydrodynamic and morphological purpose are the following:

  • geometric description of the estuary:
    length (and possible presence of landward boundaries);
    convergence length (width variation along the estuary);
    depth at the mouth (average, maximum);
    cross-sectional shape;
    data on the longitudinal variation of width and cross-section;

  • hydraulic behaviour:
    scale of velocity at the mouth (maximum, minimum; ebb and flood mean; during spring and neap tides);
    variation of the velocity scale (max, average) along the estuary;
    friction (Manning-Gauckler-Strickler coefficient, Chézy coefficient);

  • tidal wave characteristics:
    tidal period;
    harmonic constituents (M2 ...);
    phase lag (angle between high tide and high water slack, or angle between high water and maximum flood velocity);

  • salinity
    longitudinal salinity profiles;
    salinity observed at fixed locations as a function of time;
    salinity distribution over the cross-section.

See also:

- what is the meaning of these data (sketches and definitions)?

- how can they be measured?


First data available

See some data from recent papers and books


How to participate

If you have data and you are willing to share them, please send an e-mail to: marco.toffolon@ing.unitn.it


Last update: 22/10/2009