Mediterranean sea water budget long-term trend inferred from salinity observations

Skliris, N.; Zika, J.D.; Herold, L.; Josey, S.A.; Marsh, R.. 2018 Mediterranean sea water budget long-term trend inferred from salinity observations. Climate Dynamics, 51 (7-8). 2857-2876.

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Changes in the Mediterranean water cycle since 1950 are investigated using salinity and reanalysis based air–sea freshwater flux datasets. Salinity observations indicate a strong basin-scale multi-decadal salinification, particularly in the intermediate and deep layers. Evaporation, precipitation and river runoff variations are all shown to contribute to a very strong increase in net evaporation of order 20–30%. While large temporal uncertainties and discrepancies are found between E–P multi-decadal trend patterns in the reanalysis datasets, a more robust and spatially coherent structure of multi-decadal change is obtained for the salinity field. Salinity change implies an increase in net evaporation of ~ 8 to 12% over 1950–2010, which is considerably lower than that suggested by air–sea freshwater flux products, but still largely exceeding estimates of global water cycle amplification. A new method based on water mass transformation theory is used to link changes in net evaporation over the Mediterranean Sea with changes in the volumetric distribution of salinity. The water mass transformation distribution in salinity coordinates suggests that the Mediterranean basin salinification is driven by changes in the regional water cycle rather than changes in salt transports at the straits.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0930-7575
Date made live: 11 Jan 2018 09:51 +0 (UTC)

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