The influence of increasing water turbidity on the sea surface temperature in the Baltic Sea: A model sensitivity study.

Löptien, Ulrike and Meier, H.E. Markus (2011) The influence of increasing water turbidity on the sea surface temperature in the Baltic Sea: A model sensitivity study. Journal of Marine Systems, 88 (2). pp. 323-331. DOI 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2011.06.001.

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Abstract

The aim of the present study is to investigate the influence of enhanced absorption of sunlight at the sea surface due to increasing water turbidity and its effect on the sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Baltic Sea. The major question behind our investigations is, whether this effect needs to be included in Baltic Sea circulation models or can be neglected. Our investigations cover both, mean state and SST trends during the recent decades. To quantify the impact of water turbidity on the mean state different sensitivity ocean hind-cast experiments are performed. The state-of-the art ocean model RCO (Rossby Centre Ocean model) is used to simulate the period from 1962 to 2007. In the first simulation, a spatially and temporally constant value for the attenuation depth is used, while in the second experiment a climatological monthly mean, spatially varying attenuation coefficient is derived from satellite observations of the diffuse attenuation coefficient at 490 nm. The inclusion of a spatially varying light attenuation leads to significant SST changes during summer. Maximum values of + 0.5 K are reached in the Gulf of Finland and close to the eastern coasts, when compared to a fixed attenuation of visible light of 0.2 m− 1. The temperature anomalies basically match the pattern of increased light attenuation with strongest effects in shallow waters. Secondary effects due to changes in the current system are of minor importance. Similar results are obtained when considering trends. In the absence of long-term basin wide observations of attenuation coefficients, some idealizations have to be applied when investigating the possible influence of long-term changes in water turbidity on the SST. Two additional sensitivity experiments are based on a combination of long-term Secchi depth station observations and the present day pattern of water turbidity, as observed by satellite. We show the potential of increased water turbidity to affect the summer SST trends in the Baltic Sea significantly, while the estimated effect is apparently too small to explain the overall extreme summer trends observed in the Baltic Sea.
Highlights

► Investigation of the modeled influence of water turbidity on the sea surface temperature (SST) of the Baltic Sea. ► Hind-cast simulations (1962–2007) with different attenuation depths, using the regional ocean model RCO. ► The inclusion of an observed spatially varying light leads regionally to significant SST changes during summer. ► Secondary effects due to changes in the current system are of minor importance. ► The influence of increasing water turbidity on SST trends is regionally statistically significant while the effect is rather small.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Biogeochemistry; Baltic Sea; Ocean modeling; Water turbidity; SST trends; Secchi depth
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2011.06.001
ISSN: 0924-7963
Projects: BONUS+
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2011 07:04
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2017 08:50
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/12047

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