Interannual Variability of Sea Surface Height over the Black Sea: Relation to Climatic Patterns

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Kara A. B. , Barron C. N. , Wallcraft A. J. , Oguz T.

EARTH INTERACTIONS, vol.12, 2008 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1175/2008ei259.1
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Keywords: sea surface height (SSH), Black Sea, altimeter, LAYER


Sea surface height (SSH) variability is presented over the Black Sea during 1993-2005. The 1/4 degrees x 1/4 degrees resolution daily SSH fields are formed using optimal interpolation of available altimeter data. SSH variability reveals distinct maxima in the eastern and western basins, reflecting variations in the corresponding gyres. A joint examination of SSH and sea surface temperature (SST) indicates strong relationship between the two only in winter, with correlations as high as 0.6 or more. This would reflect a steric change in sea surface height due to thermal expansion averaged over a relatively deep winter mixed layer. Newly developed SSH fields also demonstrate a switch to the positive mode of SSH starting from the end of 1996 lasting approximate to 4 yr. Such a climatic shift is found to be strongly related to large-scale teleconnection patterns. Finally, the daily SSH and SST anomaly fields presented in this paper can supplement various applications in the Black Sea, such as examination of biological production and mesoscale eddy dynamics.