Continuous measurements are strictly essential to better understand the deep convection as well as for monitoring the seasonal and interannual thermohaline variability in the ocean. For these reasons, the south Adriatic Sea has been constantly monitored by means of the E2M3A deep observational site, located in its central part (Latitude 41° 50’ N, Longitude 17° 45’ E, maximum depth 1250m) since 2006. Temperature, salinity and current time series collected between 2006 and 2010 are analysed in this thesis and they represent the longest time series available for this region. Moreover, these time series are merged with Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) profiles obtained from several oceanographic cruises to provide the necessary spatial distribution of data for describing the thermohaline properties in the study area. The analysis of the data presented here shows that winter 2007 was characterized by a weak convection, while winter 2008 and following winters revealed a stronger deep convection able to reach 800-900m in February 2008. Time series highlight the abrupt temperature (T) and salinity (S) decrease, noticeable down to 600-700m depth from March 2008 on. The intermediate layer experienced a maximum decrease in T and S of ~0.4°C and ~0.06 respectively, clearly evident after each strong winter convection phase. The bottom layer (~1200m), instead, shows an opposite behaviour: it suffered a continuous T and S increase (linear trend of ~0.05 °C y-1 and ~0.004 y-1, respectively) during the whole observational period. These changes are discussed in a context of strong relationship between the variability of the Ionian surface circulation recently discovered, and the heat and salt content changes in the South Adriatic presented in this study. The results show that the mechanism triggering the salt content changes in the South Adriatic is based mainly on the winter convection, which transfers surface fresher water towards deeper layers. Nevertheless, current measurements also indicate that the passage of mesoscale eddies in the region can produce sudden thermohaline perturbations along the water column for 10-15 days. Cyclonic eddies seem to be more frequent in the proximity of the observational site than the anticyclonic ones. Interestingly, the comparison between time series and satellite images (Chl-a surface distribution) reveals, for the first time, that the vortices act along the whole water column. Their passage produces a twofold effect: the contribution to the re-stratification of the water column during the post convection phase, by exchanging the buoyancy between the mixed path and the surrounding waters, and the transfer of heat and salt between the deep and the intermediate layers.

Thermohaline variability and mesoscale dynamics observed at the E2M3A deep-site in the Southern Adriatic Sea

Bensi M
2012

Abstract

Continuous measurements are strictly essential to better understand the deep convection as well as for monitoring the seasonal and interannual thermohaline variability in the ocean. For these reasons, the south Adriatic Sea has been constantly monitored by means of the E2M3A deep observational site, located in its central part (Latitude 41° 50’ N, Longitude 17° 45’ E, maximum depth 1250m) since 2006. Temperature, salinity and current time series collected between 2006 and 2010 are analysed in this thesis and they represent the longest time series available for this region. Moreover, these time series are merged with Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (CTD) profiles obtained from several oceanographic cruises to provide the necessary spatial distribution of data for describing the thermohaline properties in the study area. The analysis of the data presented here shows that winter 2007 was characterized by a weak convection, while winter 2008 and following winters revealed a stronger deep convection able to reach 800-900m in February 2008. Time series highlight the abrupt temperature (T) and salinity (S) decrease, noticeable down to 600-700m depth from March 2008 on. The intermediate layer experienced a maximum decrease in T and S of ~0.4°C and ~0.06 respectively, clearly evident after each strong winter convection phase. The bottom layer (~1200m), instead, shows an opposite behaviour: it suffered a continuous T and S increase (linear trend of ~0.05 °C y-1 and ~0.004 y-1, respectively) during the whole observational period. These changes are discussed in a context of strong relationship between the variability of the Ionian surface circulation recently discovered, and the heat and salt content changes in the South Adriatic presented in this study. The results show that the mechanism triggering the salt content changes in the South Adriatic is based mainly on the winter convection, which transfers surface fresher water towards deeper layers. Nevertheless, current measurements also indicate that the passage of mesoscale eddies in the region can produce sudden thermohaline perturbations along the water column for 10-15 days. Cyclonic eddies seem to be more frequent in the proximity of the observational site than the anticyclonic ones. Interestingly, the comparison between time series and satellite images (Chl-a surface distribution) reveals, for the first time, that the vortices act along the whole water column. Their passage produces a twofold effect: the contribution to the re-stratification of the water column during the post convection phase, by exchanging the buoyancy between the mixed path and the surrounding waters, and the transfer of heat and salt between the deep and the intermediate layers.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14083/6406
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