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Precession and obliquity forcing of the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean

Precession and obliquity forcing of the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean
Precession and obliquity forcing of the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean
There is strong proxy and model evidence of precession- and obliquity-induced changes in the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean Sea and its borderlands, yet explanations for these changes vary greatly. We investigate the separate precession and obliquity forcing of the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean using a high-resolution coupled climate model, EC-Earth. At times of enhanced insolation seasonality, i.e. minimum precession and maximum obliquity, the area was wetter and the Mediterranean Sea surface was less saline. The latter has been attributed to increased runoff from the south as a consequence of a strengthened North African monsoon, as well as to increased precipitation over the Mediterranean Sea itself. Our results show that both mechanisms play a role in changing the freshwater budget. Increased monsoon runoff occurs in summer during times of enhanced insolation seasonality, especially minimum precession, while increased precipitation is important in winter for both precession and obliquity. We relate changes in winter precipitation to changes in the air-sea temperature difference and subsequently, convective precipitation. The freshening in the minimum precession and maximum obliquity experiments has a strong effect on Mediterranean sea surface salinity and mixed layer depth, thereby likely influencing deep sea circulation and sedimentation at the ocean bottom.
0277-3791
16–30
Bosmans, J.H.C.
20249d98-78a4-49c4-9bc0-880cecef0662
Drijfhout, S.S.
a5c76079-179b-490c-93fe-fc0391aacf13
Tuenter, E.
33b282bc-c149-4ae1-92a9-cff714101d30
Hilgen, Frits
a89ce032-b39e-4329-b341-b270f88f2d6f
Lourens, Lucas
58c3cc1c-4983-4cd3-82c9-af60b2824ca1
Rohling, Eelco
a2a27ef2-fcce-4c71-907b-e692b5ecc685
Bosmans, J.H.C.
20249d98-78a4-49c4-9bc0-880cecef0662
Drijfhout, S.S.
a5c76079-179b-490c-93fe-fc0391aacf13
Tuenter, E.
33b282bc-c149-4ae1-92a9-cff714101d30
Hilgen, Frits
a89ce032-b39e-4329-b341-b270f88f2d6f
Lourens, Lucas
58c3cc1c-4983-4cd3-82c9-af60b2824ca1
Rohling, Eelco
a2a27ef2-fcce-4c71-907b-e692b5ecc685

Bosmans, J.H.C., Drijfhout, S.S., Tuenter, E., Hilgen, Frits, Lourens, Lucas and Rohling, Eelco (2015) Precession and obliquity forcing of the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean. Quaternary Science Reviews, 123, 16–30. (doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.06.008).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is strong proxy and model evidence of precession- and obliquity-induced changes in the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean Sea and its borderlands, yet explanations for these changes vary greatly. We investigate the separate precession and obliquity forcing of the freshwater budget over the Mediterranean using a high-resolution coupled climate model, EC-Earth. At times of enhanced insolation seasonality, i.e. minimum precession and maximum obliquity, the area was wetter and the Mediterranean Sea surface was less saline. The latter has been attributed to increased runoff from the south as a consequence of a strengthened North African monsoon, as well as to increased precipitation over the Mediterranean Sea itself. Our results show that both mechanisms play a role in changing the freshwater budget. Increased monsoon runoff occurs in summer during times of enhanced insolation seasonality, especially minimum precession, while increased precipitation is important in winter for both precession and obliquity. We relate changes in winter precipitation to changes in the air-sea temperature difference and subsequently, convective precipitation. The freshening in the minimum precession and maximum obliquity experiments has a strong effect on Mediterranean sea surface salinity and mixed layer depth, thereby likely influencing deep sea circulation and sedimentation at the ocean bottom.

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More information

Published date: 1 September 2015
Organisations: Paleooceanography & Palaeoclimate

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 407495
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/407495
ISSN: 0277-3791
PURE UUID: b2f43630-d3e4-4274-a85f-912719fbdd3b
ORCID for Eelco Rohling: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5349-2158

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Date deposited: 13 Apr 2017 01:02
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:52

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Contributors

Author: J.H.C. Bosmans
Author: S.S. Drijfhout
Author: E. Tuenter
Author: Frits Hilgen
Author: Lucas Lourens
Author: Eelco Rohling ORCID iD

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