Impact of climate change on atmospheric circulation, wind characteristics and wave in the western part of the Black Sea

Abstract

This study reveals changes in atmospheric circulation over the western part of the Black Sea during the period 1979–2019 and related changes in wind conditions and sea wave in the active tourist season, which at the Bulgarian coast spans from June to September. Statistical methods such as linear regression and Spearman's correlation are used. There has been a significant increase in the number of cases with wind from the northeastern quarter of the horizon. The velocity of the wind from this direction has also increased. This has led to an increase in the wave. Spatially, southernmost regions have higher frequency of northeasterly wind. The velocity of the wind from the northeastern quarter of the horizon and corresponding significant wave height show lowest values in June, which gradually increase toward September. The most significant changes in the studied elements are observed in August and September. The causes for these changes are the change in atmospheric circulation, expressed in the north-northeastward shift of the Azores High, which thus exerts a greater impact on the western part of the Black Sea in the active tourist season. The rise of sea level pressure north of the Black Sea along with the low pressure south of it increases the horizontal baric gradient, which leads to stronger and more frequent northeasterly winds. The main economic activity affected by these trends is tourism. Revealed tendencies in the studied climatic elements and SWH in the last decades represent an immediate threat and an obstacle to the development of tourism along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.

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Abbreviations

E:

East

ECMWF:

European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

ERA5:

ECMWF Reanalysis v5

IPCC:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

N:

North

NAO:

North Atlantic Oscillation

NE:

Northeast

SLP:

Sea Level Pressure

SWH:

Significant Wave Height

SWH > 1.6 m:

Significant Wave Height above 1.6 m

SW:

Southwest

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Correspondence to Peter Nojarov.

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Nojarov, P. Impact of climate change on atmospheric circulation, wind characteristics and wave in the western part of the Black Sea. Nat Hazards (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-021-04869-5

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Wind
  • Wave
  • Black Sea
  • Tourism