Summer breakout of trapped bottom dense water from the northern Adriatic

Ivica Vilibić; Gordana Beg Paklar; Nedjeljka Žagar; Hrvoje Mihanović (HHI); Nastjenjka Supić; Mark Žagar; Nenad Domijan (HHI); Miroslava Pasarić;

Godina: 2008


Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans. 113 (2008) , C11; S1102-1-S1102-19 (članak, znanstveni)

The paper deals with an intriguing dense-water breakout episode in mid-August 2004 which has been observed in the bottom layers of the oil rig located in the middle of the northern Adriatic. Various data (temperature series and vertical T-S profiles, currents, meteorological measurements, and satellite images) have been analyzed in order to understand conditions which preceded, were active, and followed the breakout episode. A stationary bottom pool of dense water, generated during the previous winter, has been suspected to be a source of the dense water observed during the breakout, with a permanent position established by a stationary northern Adriatic cyclonic-anticyclonic gyre system. The breakout lasted for 3 days, advecting the bottom waters more than 2°C colder than residing waters at the oil rig site. The main result of modeling experiments concerns the generative force for the observed breakout which was found to be a mesoscale storm that occurred over the open north Adriatic on 8 August 2004. The storm has been reproduced by the Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS®) atmospheric model which was then used to force the Princeton Ocean Model (POM) at the surface. Results of simulations reveal the capability of the storm to break the thermohaline fronts through the wind-induced baroclinic transport and downwelling at the exposed shorelines. This is the first study in the Adriatic which evaluates the impact of mesoscale summer storm to the sea, driving bottom layer circulation through the convergence/divergence dynamics in addition to the direct impact on the sea surface through the wind stress forcing.