On the forcing of sea level in the Black Sea

Tsimplis, M.N.; Josey, S.A. ORCID:; Rixen, M.; Stanev, E.V.. 2004 On the forcing of sea level in the Black Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109 (C8). C08015-[14pp].

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Forcing mechanisms for sea level variability in the Black Sea are investigated in the context of an observed increase in the sea level of this basin by 2.5 mm/yr over the last 60 years. Temperature and salinity variations computed from the Mediterranean Data Archeology and Rescue (MEDAR) data set exhibit significant interdecadal variability. However, the corresponding steric height variation does not show a long-term increase and thus cannot account for the observed change in sea level. The impact of surface freshwater flux (P-E) changes is also investigated using two independent data sets. The first data set, which is based on measurements collected in the basin, can explain most of the sea level variability, with only 0.8 mm/yr remaining unexplained. The second data set, output from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP/NCAR) reanalysis, is unable to explain any of the observed trend. Potential contributions from changes in river runoff and surface pressure are quantified but found to be minor terms. By comparing the observed salinity changes with the sea level rise and the P-E variability in the first data set, we infer that the P-E variations are the primary cause for the observed sea level rise, while land movements are likely to partly contribute, too. The relationship of Black Sea temperature and salinity variability with corresponding variability in the connected Aegean Sea has also been explored. A significant correlation is found between the salinity of the upper water of the Aegean Sea and the layer between 50 and 300 m in the Black Sea, indicating that the latter layer is a product of the Mediterranean inflow.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0148-0227
Additional Keywords: climatology, steric sea level, North Atlantic Oscillation, interbasin water and salt exchange, Black Sea
Date made live: 28 Oct 2004 +0 (UTC)

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