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Low-frequency variability of storms in the northern Black Sea and associated processes in the ocean–atmosphere system

November 11, 2013

The Black Sea is a unique, stratified, enclosed ocean basin of great importance. The water column provides a wealth of information concerning aerobic-anaerobic biogeochemistry, the responses of which can have links to anthropogenic and climatic forcing. Herein, we synthesize dissolved oxygen (DO) and nutrient data (phosphate, dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), and silicate) for the period 1984–2010 received in the northeastern and western areas of the Sea. In the subsequent analysis we discuss the role of anthropogenic and climatic forcing in the context of the Black Sea oxic layer and oxic/anoxic interface characteristics.

The DO concentration in the surface layer and in the Cold Intermediate Layer (CIL) decreased in warm periods and increased in cold periods, correlating to North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index variation. The biogeochemical regime of the Black Sea oxygenated upper layer has notably changed since 1999. After 1999 DO concentration in the CIL decreased by 20% while the concentrations in the surface layer changed very little. This provides evidence that the CIL waters were not fully replenished during the winters of the last decade.

The nutrient concentrations (DIN and phosphate) in the surface layer decreased significantly in the 2000s compared with the 1980s–1990s. This decrease is regarded as improvement of the Black Sea ecosystem state. Oxygen and nutrient dynamics in the middle pycnocline have been decoupled since 1999. Presently physical (climatic) forcing is the dominant affecting factor controlling the Sea oxygen and nitrogen regime.

Pakhomova S, Vinogradova E, Low-frequency variability of storms in the northern Black Sea and associated processes in the ocean–atmosphere system, Regional Environmental Change, 2013, doi:10.1007/s10113-013-0546-z. Article.

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