Title: Hydrological and biogeochemical response of the Mediterranean Sea to freshwater flow changes for the end of the 21st century
Citation: PLOS ONE vol. 13 no. 2 p. e0192174
Publication Year: 2018
JRC N°: JRC108851
ISSN: 1932-6203
URI: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0192174
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0192174
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We evaluate the changes on the hydrological (temperature and salinity) and biogeochemical (phytoplankton biomass) characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea induced by freshwater flow modifications under two different scenarios for the end of the 21st century. An ensemble of four regional climate model realizations using different global circulation models at the boundary and different emission scenarios are used to force a single ocean model for the Mediterranean Sea. Freshwater flow is modified according to the simulated changes in the precipitation rates for the different rivers’ catchment regions. To isolate the effect resulting from a change in freshwater flow, model results are evaluated against a ‘baseline’ simulation realized assuming a constant inflow equivalent to climatologic values. Our model results indicate that sea surface salinity could be significantly altered by freshwater flow modification in specific regions and that the affected area and the sign of the anomaly are highly dependent on the used climate model and emission scenario. Sea surface temperature and phytoplankton biomass, on the contrary, show no coherent spatial pattern but a rather widespread scattered response. We found in open-water regions a significant negative relationship between sea surface temperature anomalies and phytoplankton biomass anomalies. This indicates that freshwater flow modification could alter the vertical stability of the water column throughout the Mediterranean Sea, by changing the strength of vertical mixing and consequently upper water fertilization. In coastal regions, however, the correlation between sea temperature anomalies and phytoplankton biomass is positive, indicating a larger importance of the physiological control of growth rates by temperature.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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