Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Research article
11 Mar 2014
Research article |  | 11 Mar 2014

Geostrophic currents and kinetic energies in the Black Sea estimated from merged drifter and satellite altimetry data

M. Menna and P.-M. Poulain

Abstract. Drifter measurements and satellite altimetry data are merged to reconstruct the surface geostrophic circulation of the Black Sea in the period 1999–2009. This combined data set is used to estimate pseudo-Eulerian velocity statistics for different time periods. Seasonal and interannual variability of currents and kinetic energy fields are described with particular attention to the mesoscale and sub-basin coastal eddies. The mean currents are generally stronger in winter and enhanced speeds are observed in the period 2002–2006. The most intense activity of sub-basin Batumi Eddy occurs in summer with greater speeds and dimensions in 2006 and 2008. The sub-basin Sevastopol Eddy is generated in spring from a meander of the Rim Current. Mesoscale eddies located along the Anatolia, Caucasus and Crimea coasts are permanent, quasi-permanent or intermittent features and can interact and merge with each other, showing high values of kinetic energy.