National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2005

Ventilation of the Black Sea pycnocline. Parameterization of convection, numerical simulations and validations against observed chlorofluorocarbon data

Stanev, E., J. Staneva, J.L. Bullister, and J.W. Murray

Deep-Sea Res. I, 51(12), 2137–2169, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2004.07.018 (2004)

Data from field observations and numerical model simulations are used to understand and quantify the pathways by which passive tracers penetrate into the Black Sea intermediate and deep layers. Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) concentrations measured during the1988 R.V. Knorr cruise show strong decrease with increasing density in the Black Sea and illustrate the very slow rate of ventilation of deep water in this basin. We develop a 3D numerical model based on the Modular Ocean Model (MOM), and calibrate it in a way to produce consistent simulations of observed temperature, salinity and CFCs. One important feature is the implementation of a special parameterization for convection, which is an alternative of the convective adjustment in MOM and handles the penetration of the Bosporus plume into the halocline. The model forcing includes interannually variable wind, heat and water fluxes constructed from Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set and ECMWF atmospheric analysis data and river runoff data. The analysis of observations and simulated data are focused on correlations between thermohaline and tracer fields, dynamic control of ventilation, and the relative contributions of sources at the sea surface and outflow from the Bosporus Strait in the formation of intermediate and deep waters. A simple theory is developed which incorporates the outflow from the strait along with the vertical circulation (vertical turbulent mixing and Ekman upwelling) and reveals their mutual adjustment. The analyses of simulated and observed CFCs demonstrate that most of the CFC penetrating the deep layers has its source at the sea surface within the Black Sea rather than from the Marmara Sea via the Bosporus undercurrent. Under present-day conditions, the surface CFC signals have reached only the upper halocline. Intrusions below 600 m are not simulated. The major pathways of penetration of CFCs are associated with cold-water mass formation sites, Bosporus effluent, as well as with the diapycnal mixing in the area of Rim Current. Future CFC sampling strategies coherent with the unique conditions in the Black Sea are discussed.

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