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Climatic Indices Influencing the Long-Term Variability of Mediterranean Heat and Water Fluxes: The North Atlantic and Mediterranean Oscillations

March 13, 2014

Interannual to interdecadal precipitation (P), evaporation (E), water deficit (EP), and total heat flux have been correlated with North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Mediterranean Oscillation (MO) indices to explore the influence of large-scale atmospheric forcing on the variability of the Mediterranean water and heat budgets. Basin-averaged precipitation decrease from the mid-1960s to the late 1980s clearly corresponds to a switch from a low to a high state of both indices. The variability of EP is not so well correlated with the atmospheric indices because of the different sensitivity of E and P that leads to correlations of opposite sign in the eastern and western sub-basins. The effectiveness of the NAO and MO indices is quite similar for P and EP but the regional MO index has turned out to be a more successful indicator of interdecadal evaporation and net heat flux because, from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, correlation with the NAO index decreases considerably. Because the MO centre remains relatively steady, it influences most of the Mediterranean Sea year round, so it is more suitable for monitoring long-term water and especially heat budget variability.

Criado-Aldeanueva F, Soto-Navarro FJ, García-Lafuente J, 2014:  Climatic Indices Influencing the Long-Term Variability of Mediterranean Heat and Water Fluxes: The North Atlantic and Mediterranean Oscillations, Atmosphere-Ocean, doi: 10.1080/07055900.2014.881316. Article.

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