Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 5:21 EDT

Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea is a body of water dividing the Italian Peninsula from the Balkan Peninsula and the Apennine Mountains from the Dinaric Alps and neighboring ranges. This sea is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, stretching from the Strait of Otranto to the northwest and the Po Valley. It contains over 1300 islands, mainly located along the eastern, Croatian, coast. Its divided into three basins, the northern one being the shallowest and the southern one being the deepest; a maximum depth of 4,045 ft. The prevailing currents flow in a counterclockwise manner from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast and back to the straight along the western coast. The tidal movements in the Adriatic are small, although larger amplitudes are known to happen sometimes. The salinity is lower than the Mediterranean’s because the Adriatic acquires a third of the fresh water that flows into the Mediterranean, acting as a dilution basin. The temperature of the surface of the water usually ranges from 75 degrees during the summer to 54 degrees during the winter, drastically moderating the climate of the Adriatic Basin.

The shores of the Adriatic sea are populated by more than  3.5 million people; the largest cities being Bari, Split, Trieste, and Venice. The earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Illyrian, Greek, and Etruscan.

Tourism and fisheries play a significant role in sources of income all along the Adriatic coast. Adriatic Croatia’s tourism industry has grown faster economic wise than the rest of the Adriatic Basin’s. Another significant branch of the areas economy is Maritime Transport – there are nineteen seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million tons of cargo per year.

This sea is considered as semi-closed, bordered in the southwest by the Apennine or Italian Peninsula, the northwest by the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and in the northeast by Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and Albania – the Balkan Peninsula. In the southeast area, the Adriatic sea connects to the Ionian Sea at the 45 miles wide Strait of Otranto. The sea is divided geographically into the Northern, Central, and Southern Adriatic. Some major rivers flowing into the sea include the Po, Krka, Soca, Neretva, Drin, Bojana, and Vjose.

This sea contains over 1300 islands and islets, mostly along the Adriatics eastern coast, especially in Croatia, with 1,246 counted. This number includes islands, islets and rocks of all sizes, including ones that emerge at ebb tide only.

As with most Mediterranean Basin areas, the Adriatic Sea and its surrounding landmass enjoy the Mediterranean climate, which is a type of subtropical climate. Because the Adriatic’s location is the mid-latitudes, its distinguished by a seasonably variable climate; its also characterized by dry, warm to hot summers and wet, mild to cool winters. The temperature of the air fluctuates b about 68 degrees during a single season.

The Adriatic is special in respect of its overall biogeochemical physiognomy. It exports inorganic nutrients and imports particulate organic carbon and nitrogen through the Straight of Otranto. The exchange of substances is made more complicated by bathymetry of the sea – 75 percent of water flowing north through the straight recirculates at the Palagruza Sill and north Adriatic adds no more than 3 to 4 percent of water to the South Adriatic.

Image Caption: Adriatic Sea. Credit: Janusz Recław/Wikipedia  (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Adriatic Sea