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Côte d'Ivoire
Adingra, A.A.; Arfi, R.; Kouassi, A.M. (2000). Côte d'Ivoire, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. pp. 805-820
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 1. Regional chapters: Europe, The Americas and West Africa. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 934 pp., more

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  • Adingra, A.A.
  • Arfi, R.
  • Kouassi, A.M.

Abstract
    The Ivoirian oceanic zone is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Guinea shoreline, stretching from Cape Palmas (7°30W) to Cape Three Points (2°W). The continental shelf is 25-30 km wide, with a surface of about 16,000 km². The shoreline, with a length of 530 km, is formed by sandy beaches, shaping a wide arch open to the Atlantic Ocean. A major morphological feature, the "Trou Sans Pond" Canyon cuts the continental shelf in front of Abidjan; there, depths over 1000 m are rapidly reached a few kilometres offshore. Large rivers (Cavally, Sassandra, Bandama and Comoe) drain the country from the north to the south and flow into the ocean either directly or via a lagoon. The current pattern is dominated by the Guinean Current flowing eastward in the upper layer (average speed and maximum velocity of about 0.5 kt and 2 kt, respectively) and by the Ivoirian Undercurrent running westward in the subsurface layer, (average speed 0.4 kt). Waves from the open sea are very energetic and the swell originating from the South Atlantic Ocean produces a permanent surf parallel to the coastline. Tides are semi-diurnal with diurnal inequality and an amplitude ranging from 0.8 to 1 m. Coastal upwellings occur seasonally along the shoreline, from July to September (major event) and in January (minor event). The prevailing coastal winds are the Monsoon Trade winds blowing from southwest to south-southwest with a speed of about 3-4 m s-1. The climate is governed by the latitudinal displacement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) separating a humid air mass of oceanic origin (Monsoon period) and a dry air mass of continental origin (Harmattan season). The major rainy season (54% of the annual rainfall, ranging from 1500 to 2200 mm yr-1) occurs generally from May to July, the minor rainy season (16%) occurs from October to November. The major dry season starts in December and ends in March and the minor one between August and September . The coastline encompasses a variety of coastal habitats including lagoons, estuaries, mangroves, swamps and humid zones. These critical habitats providing spawning grounds for numerous fish, molluscs, birds, manatees and other life forms are now undergoing rapid destruction as a result of intense human activities. Deriving mainly from the history of the country's first contact with European seafarers, nearly all major infrastructures in the country are located in the coastal area. Pollution from these various sources affects the water and their natural living resources. Environmental degradation including critical habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity are among the major impacts. Concerns about the deterioration of the coastal and marine environment of the Cote d'Ivoire coupled with the experiences gained from the country's participation in several regional and international conventions have led to the preparation of a National Environmental Action Plan and also to the vote by the Parliament of a new Outline Law on Environment.

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