Articles | Volume 12, issue 4
Research article
18 Aug 2016
Research article |  | 18 Aug 2016

Effects of surface current–wind interaction in an eddy-rich general ocean circulation simulation of the Baltic Sea

Heiner Dietze and Ulrike Löptien

Abstract. Deoxygenation in the Baltic Sea endangers fish yields and favours noxious algal blooms. Yet, vertical transport processes ventilating the oxygen-deprived waters at depth and replenishing nutrient-deprived surface waters (thereby fuelling export of organic matter to depth) are not comprehensively understood. Here, we investigate the effects of the interaction between surface currents and winds on upwelling in an eddy-rich general ocean circulation model of the Baltic Sea. Contrary to expectations we find that accounting for current–wind effects inhibits the overall vertical exchange between oxygenated surface waters and oxygen-deprived water at depth. At major upwelling sites, however (e.g. off the southern coast of Sweden and Finland) the reverse holds: the interaction between topographically steered surface currents with winds blowing over the sea results in a climatological sea surface temperature cooling of 0.5 K. This implies that current–wind effects drive substantial local upwelling of cold and nutrient-replete waters.

Short summary
Winds blowing over the ocean drive ocean currents. The oceanic response to winds is, in turn, influenced by ocean currents. Theoretical considerations suggest that the latter effect is especially pronounced in the Baltic Sea. The study presented here puts theses theoretical considerations in a high-resolution ocean circulation model of the Baltic Sea to the test.