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Volume 10, issue 4
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 1829-1842, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-10-1829-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 1829-1842, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-10-1829-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Review article 11 Oct 2018

Review article | 11 Oct 2018

Mediterranean Sea climatic indices: monitoring long-term variability and climate changes

Athanasia Iona1,2, Athanasios Theodorou2, Sarantis Sofianos3, Sylvain Watelet4, Charles Troupin4, and Jean-Marie Beckers4 Athanasia Iona et al.
  • 1Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic National Oceanographic Data Centre, 46,7 km Athens Sounio, Mavro Lithari P.O. Box 712 19013 Anavissos, Attica, Greece
  • 2University of Thessaly, Department of Ichthyology & Aquatic Environment, Laboratory of Oceanography, Fytoko Street, 38445, Nea Ionia Magnesia, Greece
  • 3Ocean Physics and Modelling Group, Division of Environmental Physics and Meteorology, University of Athens, University Campus, Phys–5, 15784 Athens, Greece
  • 4University of Liège, GeoHydrodynamics and Environment Research, Quartier Agora, Allée du 6-Août, 17, Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège 1, Belgium

Abstract. We present a new product composed of a set of thermohaline climatic indices from 1950 to 2015 for the Mediterranean Sea such as decadal temperature and salinity anomalies, their mean values over selected depths, decadal ocean heat and salt content anomalies at selected depth layers as well as their long time series. It is produced from a new high-resolution climatology of temperature and salinity on a 1∕8° regular grid based on historical high-quality in situ observations. Ocean heat and salt content differences between 1980–2015 and 1950–1979 are compared for evaluation of the climate shift in the Mediterranean Sea. The two successive periods are chosen according to the standard WMO climate normals. The spatial patterns of heat and salt content shifts demonstrate that the climate changes differently in the several regions of the basin. Long time series of heat and salt content for the period 1950 to 2015 are also provided which indicate that in the Mediterranean Sea there is a net mean volume warming and salinification since 1950 that has accelerated during the last two decades. The time series also show that the ocean heat content seems to fluctuate on a cycle of about 40 years and seems to follow the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation climate cycle, indicating that the natural large-scale atmospheric variability could be superimposed onto the warming trend. This product is an observation-based estimation of the Mediterranean climatic indices. It relies solely on spatially interpolated data produced from in situ observations averaged over decades in order to smooth the decadal variability and reveal the long-term trends. It can provide a valuable contribution to the modellers' community, next to the satellite-based products, and serve as a baseline for the evaluation of climate-change model simulations, thus contributing to a better understanding of the complex response of the Mediterranean Sea to the ongoing global climate change. The product is available in netCDF at the following sources: annual and seasonal TS anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408832), annual and seasonal TS vertical averaged anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408929), annual and seasonal areal density of OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408877), annual and seasonal linear trends of TS, OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408917), annual and seasonal time series of TS, OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1411398), and differences of two 30-year averages of annual and seasonal TS, OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408903).

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The paper introduces a new product composed of a set of climatic indices from 1950 to 2015 for the Mediterranean Sea. It is produced from a high-resolution decadal climatology of temperature and salinity on a 1/8 degree regular grid based on the SeaDataNet V2 historical data collection. The climatic indices can contribute to the studies of the long-term variability of the Mediterranean Sea and the better understanding of the complex response of the region to the ongoing global climate change.
The paper introduces a new product composed of a set of climatic indices from 1950 to 2015 for...
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