Quantifying the impact of basin dynamics on the regional sea level rise in the Black Sea

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Abstract

Satellite altimetry measurements show that the magnitude of the Black Sea sea level trends is spatially uneven. While the basin-mean sea level rise from 1993 to 2014 was about 3.15 mm yr-1, the local rates of sea level rise varied from 1.5-2.5 mm yr-1 in the central part to 3.5-3.8 mm yr-1 at the basin periphery and over the northwestern shelf and to 5 mm yr-1 in the southeastern part of the sea. We show that the observed spatial differences in the dynamic sea level (anomaly relative to the basin-mean) are caused by changes in the large- and mesoscale dynamics of the Black Sea. First, a long-term intensification of the cyclonic wind curl over the Black Sea, observed in 1993-2014, strengthened divergence in the center of the basin and led to the rise of the sea level in coastal and shelf areas and a lowering in the basin's interior. Second, an extension of the Batumi anticyclone to the west resulted in ∼1.2 mm yr-1 higher rates of sea level rise in the southeastern part of the sea. Further, we demonstrate that the large-scale dynamic sea level variability in the Black Sea can be successfully reconstructed using the wind curl obtained from an atmospheric reanalysis. This allows for the correction of historical tide gauge records for dynamic effects in order to derive more accurate estimates of the basin-mean sea level change in the past, prior to the satellite altimetry era.

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Kubryakov, A. A., Stanichny, S. V., & Volkov, D. L. (2017). Quantifying the impact of basin dynamics on the regional sea level rise in the Black Sea. Ocean Science, 13(3), 443–452. https://doi.org/10.5194/os-13-443-2017

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