Causes of long-term changes in Aegean Sea deep water

Boscolo, R.; Bryden, H.. 2001 Causes of long-term changes in Aegean Sea deep water. Oceanologica Acta, 24 (6). 519-527.

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Recent observations of newly formed deep water in the Aegean sea prompts this analysis of whether such deep water could be formed locally by the combination of an increase in net evaporation and wintertime water mass transformation. River diversion projects in Russia and Egypt since the 1950s have effectively increased the amount of net evaporation over the eastern Mediterranean basin. Historical profiles show that low salinity intermediate waters separated the deep and upper waters in the Aegean in 1961–1962. Within a simple mixed layer model, imposing a small net evaporation of 10 cm·yr–1 on the observed hydrographic conditions in March 1962 results in the gradual erosion of the low salinity intermediate waters. After 25 years, the low salinity intermediate waters are absent in agreement with observations made in September 1987. Continuing to force the model with the small net evaporation and with monthly heat and freshwater exchange anomalies from March 1987, new deep water could have been formed as early as March 1988. In the model, major deep water formation events occurred during the severe winters of 1991–1992 and 1992–1993 resulting in the formation of saltier and notably colder deep waters. The effective increase in net evaporation slowly increases the salinity and decreases the stratification in the Aegean sea until a severe winter leads to deep convection and new bottom water formation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
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Date made live: 27 May 2004 +0 (UTC)

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