Title: Projected changes on surface currents patterns in the Mediterranean for the 21st century
Citation: Proceedings of the IOC-UNESCO conference p. 171-172
Publisher: UNESCO
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC92451
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC92451
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Most evaluations on consequences of climate change scenarios on the marine environment are usually based on basic hydrographic properties such as Sea Surface Temperature (SST). This is mainly done because SST is easy to measure from satellite and provides synoptic and detailed information on the surface characteristics of the observed system. Also, one of the major projected effects of climate change is to increase global surface temperature and, consequently, SST. However, changes on the temperature of the surface layer of the ocean should have profound consequences on an array of processes (e.g., stratification, deep water formation, horizontal baroclinic gradients), which are of fundamental importance for marine ecosystems. In the predominantly oligotrophic Mediterranean Sea, horizontal currents induced by wind-stress, water interchanges between sub-basin and topographic effects usually create strong fronts that locally enhance biological productivity. This is true for example in the Alboran Sea, Ligurian Sea and the Balearic Sea among other. The most important fishery grounds within the Mediterranean basin are, usually, located in those areas with strong mesoscale activity. Here we use the climate scenarios provided by two different Global Climate Models (MPI and EC-Earth) to force a hydrodynamic model of the Mediterranean Sea under the rcp4.5 emission scenario. Climatological surface currents show large differences in strength and/or direction for the end of the 21st century. Such changes could imply potential changes of productivity hot-spots in the future, with profound consequences for the goods and services provided by this crucial marine ecosystem.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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