Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1861–1871 | Cite as

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

  • A. PolonskyEmail author
  • V. Evstigneev
  • V. Naumova
  • E. Voskresenskaya
Original Article


Monthly anomalies of stormy wind–wave heights and return periods are evaluated using secular routine observations in the coastal zone of the northern Black Sea. It is shown that wind–wave anomalies in this region are characterized by high-amplitude quasi-periodical variability with typical timescale of about 50 years. This timescale is determined by temporal variability of the coupled ocean–atmosphere system and coincides with periodicity of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Atmospheric re-analysis data show that cyclonic activity over the Black Sea basin intensifies when North Atlantic is relatively cold and meridional forms of atmospheric circulation are more frequent in the North Atlantic-Eurasian region. This leads to generation of more frequent Black Sea storm events and enhanced recurrence of extreme waves and results in profound (and mostly negative) environmental consequences. When North Atlantic is relatively warm and meridional forms of atmospheric circulation are less frequent in the North Atlantic-Eurasian region, environmental conditions in the Black Sea region are calmer. Thus, statistics of dangerous events can be wrongly estimated even if relatively long-term (~30 years) time series are considered and interdecadal variability of wind–wave anomalies must be taken into account when the risk assessment is accomplished.


Interdecadal variability of Black Sea stormy wind–waves Atlantic multidecadal oscillation Meridional forms of atmospheric circulation 



The authors thank Guest Editor (Prof. P.Lionello), Dr. M. Evstigneev, and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and suggestions. This work was supported by the fund for fundamental research for climate study from National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and state budget of Hydrometeorological Committee of Ukraine.

Supplementary material

10113_2013_546_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1018 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1018 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Polonsky
    • 1
    Email author
  • V. Evstigneev
    • 2
  • V. Naumova
    • 2
  • E. Voskresenskaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Hydrophysical InstituteSevastopolUkraine
  2. 2.Hydrometeorological ObservatorySevastopolUkraine

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