Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
07 May 2010
 | 07 May 2010

Long term trends in the sea surface temperature of the Black Sea

G. I. Shapiro, D. L. Aleynik, and L. D. Mee

Abstract. There is growing understanding that recent deterioration of the Black Sea ecosystem was partly due to changes in the marine physical environment. This study uses high resolution 0.25° climatology to analyze sea surface temperature variability over the 20th century in two contrasting regions of the sea. Results show that the deep Black Sea was cooling during the first three quarters of the century and was warming in the last 15–20 years; on aggregate there was a statistically significant cooling trend. The SST variability over the Western shelf was more volatile and it does not show statistically significant trends. The cooling of the deep Black Sea is at variance with the general trend in the North Atlantic and may be related to the decrease of westerly winds over the Black Sea, and a greater influence of the Siberian anticyclone. The timing of the changeover from cooling to warming coincides with the regime shift in the Black Sea ecosystem.