Observations of Mediterranean flow into the Black Sea
Mediterranean Sea water inflow into the Black Sea is investigated using acoustic and oceanographic data obtained in the Black Sea exit region. The path of Mediterranean water and the resulting spreading on the continental shelf is observed with SWATH bottom bathymetry measurements, high resolution echo sounding images and conductivity, temperature and depth (CTD) profiles. It is found that the dilution of the saline Mediterranean water as it flows and spreads on the shelf is only 6.0 before reaching the continental slope where it sinks to a depth appropriate to its density. Temporal and spatial variability in the flow and their relation to atmospheric and sea level changes are documented. It is shown that blockage of the Mediterranean undercurrent occurs when the Black Sea water transport exceeds 25 x 10^3 m^3 s^(-1) which corresponds to a relative sea level difference greater than 40 cm. Mediterranean flow into the Black Sea is a high Reynolds, low Richardson number flow resulting in a turbulent bottom boundary layer. Measurements of the path averaged turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate give values ranging from 1 x 10^(-6) to 1 x 10^(-4) W/kg.
Di Iorio, Daniela;