Seasonal variability in sea surface oceanographic conditions in the Aegean Sea (Eastern Mediterranean): an overview


Poulos, S.E., Drakopoulos, P,G. and Collins, M.B. (1997) Seasonal variability in sea surface oceanographic conditions in the Aegean Sea (Eastern Mediterranean): an overview. Journal of Marine Systems, 13, (1-4), 225-244. (doi:10.1016/S0924-7963(96)00113-3).

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Description/Abstract

Seasonal variability and the spatial distribution of sea surface temperatures (SST) and salinities (SSS) are reviewed, in relation to the prevailing climatological conditions, heat fluxes, water budget and general water circulation patterns. Within this context, consideration is given to: sea surface temperatures; air temperatures; precipitation; evaporation; wind speeds and directions; freshwater (mainly riverine) discharges throughout the Aegean; and the exchange of water masses with the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea. The investigation of satellite images, covering a 6-yr period (1988–1994), has enabled a synthesis of the monthly sea surface thermal distribution to be established.

The climate of the Aegean Sea is characterised by annual air temperatures of 16–19.5°C, precipitation of about 500 mm yr−1 and evaporation of some 4 mm d−1. The Aegean has a negative heat budget (approximately −25 W m−2) and positive water balance (+ 1.0 m yr−1), when inflow from the Black Sea is considered. During the summer, the (northerly) Etesians are the dominant winds over the Sea.

Mean monthly sea surface temperatures (SST) vary from 8°C in the north during winter, up to 26°C in the south during summer. SST depends mainly upon air temperature; there is a month's delay between the former and latter maxima. The sea surface salinity (SSS) varies also spatially and seasonally, ranging from less than 31 psu, in the north, to more than 39 psu, in the southeast; lower values (< 25 psu) occur adjacent to the river mouths. SSSs present their maximum differences during summer, whilst during winter and autumn the distribution of SSS is more uniform. The overall spatial SST and SSS distribution pattern is controlled by: distribution of the (colder) Black Sea Waters; advection of the (warmer) Levantine Waters, from the southeastern part of the Aegean; upwelling and downwelling; and, to a lesser extent, but locally important, freshwater riverine inflows.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0924-7963 (print)
Keywords: Aegean Sea; sea-surface temperature/salinity; ocean circulation; air-sea interaction; water balance
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 180325
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2011 15:37
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:34
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/180325

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