Environmental impacts and simultaneity of positive and negative storm surges on the coast of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Argentine shore of the Rio de la Plata estuary and its southwards adjacent maritime front are normally affected by extratropical positive and negative storm surges that affect human activities seriously. Positive surges can raise the water level in the estuary by more than 3m over the predicted tide; thus, flooding the coastal plain where over 13 million people live and causing extensive property damage. Sometimes, there has been loss of life too. Although less populated than the coastal plain, the maritime front has many important tourist resorts and also undergoes severe beach erosion processes and loss of property owing to positive surges. Negative surges are particularly troublesome in the Rio de la Plata because they critically affect navigation safety and drinking water supply by lowering the predicted water level in an amount that sometimes reached more than 4m. A remarkable point is that the same storm event can simultaneously give rise to a positive surge on the maritime front and a negative one in the Rio de la Plata. The environmental impacts of positive storm surges are strongly aggravated by human intervention. At the same time, sea level rise due to global climatic change has also its influence.