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Climate Dynamics

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 1211–1236 | Cite as

Dense water formation and BiOS-induced variability in the Adriatic Sea simulated using an ocean regional circulation model

  • Natalija Dunić
  • Ivica Vilibić
  • Jadranka Šepić
  • Samuel Somot
  • Florence Sevault
Article

Abstract

A performance analysis of the NEMOMED8 ocean regional circulation model was undertaken for the Adriatic Sea during the period of 1961–2012, focusing on two mechanisms, dense water formation (DWF) and the Adriatic–Ionian Bimodal Oscillating System (BiOS), which drive interannual and decadal variability in the basin. The model was verified based on sea surface temperature and sea surface height satellite measurements and long-term in situ observations from several key areas. The model qualitatively reproduces basin-scale processes: thermohaline-driven cyclonic circulation and freshwater surface outflow along the western Adriatic coast, dense water dynamics, and the inflow of Ionian and Levantine waters to the Adriatic. Positive temperature and salinity biases are reported; the latter are particularly large along the eastern part of the basin, presumably because of the inappropriate introduction of eastern Adriatic rivers into the model. The highest warm temperature biases in the vertical direction were found in dense-water-collecting depressions in the Adriatic, indicating either an inappropriate quantification of DWF processes or temperature overestimation of modelled dense water. The decadal variability in the thermohaline properties is reproduced better than interannual variability, which is considerably underestimated. The DWF rates are qualitatively well reproduced by the model, being larger when preconditioned by higher basin-wide salinities. Anticyclonic circulation in the northern Ionian Sea was modelled only during the Eastern Mediterranean Transient. No other reversals of circulation that could be linked to BiOS-driven changes were modelled.

Keywords

Adriatic Sea Thermohaline processes Dense water formation Decadal variations Regional climate modelling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We express our gratitude to all the oceanographers, technicians and crew members who were involved in data collection and to all team members who contributed to the execution of the ARPERA forcing and to the NEMOMED8 model run, particularly Jonathan Beuvier and Michel Déqué. Hrvoje Mihanović assisted with the application of the SOM method to the model outputs. The comments from the two anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated. The work of Natalija Dunić was supported by the Croatian Science Foundation, which also supported the work of Jadranka Šepić and Ivica Vilibić through Grant IP-2014-09-5747 (project SCOOL). This work is a contribution to the HyMeX/Med-CORDEX initiative. The model evaluations can be downloaded from www.medcordex.eu.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Oceanography and FisheriesSplitCroatia
  2. 2.CNRM-GAMECNRS/Météo-FranceToulouseFrance

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