, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 73-82
Date: 25 Nov 2008

Sea surface temperature trends in Kuwait Bay, Arabian Gulf

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Abstract

The waters of Kuwait Bay, northern Arabian Gulf, are well mixed by macrotidal, semi-diurnal tides. Sea surface temperature (SST) is thus a good proxy of water mass temperature in the bay. The factors governing SST have been conveniently sub-divided into global, regional and local drivers. This paper provides a study on long-term drivers of temperature change in the northern Arabian Gulf: that is, factors that influence decadal changes. AVHRR (NOAA) satellite data of Kuwait Bay, collected between 1985 and 2002, show that SST has steadily increased at a rate of 0.6 (±0.3)°C/decade. This trend was three times greater than the concurrent global average. The rate of change was greatest in May and June and least during winter months. The trends defined by satellite data were substantiated by routine in situ monthly measurements of SST made in the region and were also similar to air temperature trends recorded at Kuwait airport. The monthly measurements of SST also showed a peak in summer temperature coincident with an El Niño event in 1998. A relatively low summertime peak during 1991 in the aftermath of Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is considered to be the result of atmospheric dimming brought about by dense smoke that persisted in the region for most of that year.