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CR 55:217-225 (2013)  -  DOI:

Weakening thermohaline circulation in the Adriatic Sea

Ivica Vilibić1,*, Jadranka Šepić1, Nicolas Proust2

1Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Šetalište I, Meštrovi΄ca 63, 21000 Split, Croatia
2Institute of Engineering Sciences of Toulon and Var, Avenue Pompidou, BP 56, 83162 La Valette, France

ABSTRACT: In this paper, we document observational support for the long-term weakening of the northwestern part of the Adriatic−Ionian thermohaline cell (AITHC), one of the 3 cells that drive the deep Mediterranean thermohaline circulation. The AITHC weakening is detected from long-term temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen trends estimated from data measured between 1952 and 2010 along the Palagruža Sill, Adriatic Sea. We assumed that the weakening of the AITHC may be deduced from long-term changes in the dense water outflow characteristics across the sill, which are characterized by a strong decrease in dissolved oxygen content, slight warming and shallowing of the outflow and by lower advection of saline and warmer Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW) toward the northwestern Adriatic. The latter was deduced from the negative temperature trends and the lowest salinity trends estimated for the area of LIW inflow. Further weakening of the AITHC may have a noteworthy impact on deep aquatic systems and should therefore be monitored and assessed regularly.

KEY WORDS: Mediterranean · Deep thermohaline circulation · Temperature · Salinity · Dissolved oxygen · Long-term trends

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Cite this article as: Vilibić I, Šepić J, Proust N (2013) Weakening thermohaline circulation in the Adriatic Sea. Clim Res 55:217-225.

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