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Inter-Annual Variability and Trends of Sea Level and Sea Surface Temperature in the Mediterranean Sea over the Last 25 Years

Journal article
Authors B. Mohamed
A. M. Abdallah
K. A. El-Din
H. Nagy
Mohamed Shaltout
Published in Pure and Applied Geophysics
Volume 176
Issue 8
Pages 3787-3810
ISSN 0033-4553
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 3787-3810
Language en
Keywords Mediterranean Sea, absolute dynamic topography, tide gauges, AVHRR, spatiotemporal variability, altimetry, topex/poseidon, circulation, model, Geochemistry & Geophysics
Subject categories Geophysics, Geochemistry


Sea level and sea surface temperature inter-annual variability and trends in the Mediterranean Sea were investigated during the period 1993-2017. These were carried out using gridded absolute dynamic topography from satellite altimetry, tide gauge (TG) time series from 25 stations and gridded sea surface temperature (SST) from advanced very-high-resolution radiometer (AVHRR) data. The coastal TG data were used to verify the satellite derived sea level. Moreover, the contributions of atmospheric pressure and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) to sea level changes were also examined. The results revealed that the Mediterranean Sea exhibits inter-annual spatiotemporal coherent variability in both sea level and SST. The spatial variability in sea level is more significant over the Adriatic and Aegean Seas, most of the Levantine basin, and along the Tunisian shelf. Marked spatial variability in SST occurs over the central part of the Mediterranean Sea with maximum amplitude in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The highest temporal variability of sea level and SST was found in 2010 and 2003, respectively. The inter-annual variability of sea level and SST accounts for about 32% and 3% of the total variance of sea level and SST, respectively. An analysis of sea level anomaly reveled large negative values during the extended winter of 2011-2012, which may be attributed to the strong positive phase of NAO index. Satellite altimetry indicated a significant positive sea level trend of 2.7 +/- 0.41 mm/year together with a significant warming of 0.036 +/- 0.003 degrees C/year over the whole Mediterranean Sea for the period 1993-2017.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2019-11-12