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Mediterranean Sea climatic indices: monitoring long-term variability and climate changes
Iona, A.; Theodorou, A.; Sofianos, S.; Watelet, S.; Troupin, C.; Beckers, J.-M. (2018). Mediterranean Sea climatic indices: monitoring long-term variability and climate changes. ESSD 10(4): 1829-1842. https://hdl.handle.net/10.5194/essd-10-1829-2018
In: Earth System Science Data. Copernicus: Göttingen. ISSN 1866-3508; e-ISSN 1866-3516, meer
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  • Iona, A.
  • Theodorou, A.
  • Sofianos, S.

Abstract
    We present a new product composed of a set of thermohaline climatic indices from 1950 to 2015 for the Mediterranean Sea such as decadal temperature and salinity anomalies, their mean values over selected depths, decadal ocean heat and salt content anomalies at selected depth layers as well as their long time series. It is produced from a new high-resolution climatology of temperature and salinity on a 1∕8∘ regular grid based on historical high-quality in situ observations. Ocean heat and salt content differences between 1980–2015 and 1950–1979 are compared for evaluation of the climate shift in the Mediterranean Sea. The two successive periods are chosen according to the standard WMO climate normals. The spatial patterns of heat and salt content shifts demonstrate that the climate changes differently in the several regions of the basin. Long time series of heat and salt content for the period 1950 to 2015 are also provided which indicate that in the Mediterranean Sea there is a net mean volume warming and salinification since 1950 that has accelerated during the last two decades. The time series also show that the ocean heat content seems to fluctuate on a cycle of about 40 years and seems to follow the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation climate cycle, indicating that the natural large-scale atmospheric variability could be superimposed onto the warming trend. This product is an observation-based estimation of the Mediterranean climatic indices. It relies solely on spatially interpolated data produced from in situ observations averaged over decades in order to smooth the decadal variability and reveal the long-term trends. It can provide a valuable contribution to the modellers' community, next to the satellite-based products, and serve as a baseline for the evaluation of climate-change model simulations, thus contributing to a better understanding of the complex response of the Mediterranean Sea to the ongoing global climate change. The product is available in netCDF at the following sources: annual and seasonal T∕S anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408832), annual and seasonal T∕S vertical averaged anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408929), annual and seasonal areal density of OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408877), annual and seasonal linear trends of T∕S, OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408917), annual and seasonal time series of T∕S, OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1411398), and differences of two 30-year averages of annual and seasonal T∕S, OHC/OSC anomalies (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1408903).

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