Temporal and spatial variability of nutrients and oxygen in the North Aegean Sea during the last thirty years
MEDEX (Marin-ERA, FP6) EU Project
Greek General Secretariat of Research and Technology
Inorganic nutrient and dissolved oxygen data collected in the North Aegean Sea during 1986 - 2008 were analyzed in order to evaluate the role of the inflowing Black Sea originated surface water (BSW) in the nutrient regime of the area. In periods of high buoyancy inflow from Dardanelles strait, a reduction of inorganic nutrients in the surface layer is observed along the north-west route of the BSW; in parallel, the underlying layer of Levantine intermediate water revealed an increase of inorganic nutrients, receiving the degradation material from the surface layer. The above spatial patterns suggest a contribution of the BSW to the observed enhanced production of the North Aegean Sea. Anomalously low buoyancy inflow of BSW combined with severe winter meteorological conditions promote deep water formation events. The physical and chemical characteristics of the deep waters found in the different basins of the North Aegean Sea in 1997 (following the deep water formation in winters of 1992-1993) differed from those observed after the formation in winter 1987. These differences were probably related to the drastic changes occurred in the deep waters of the Eastern Mediterranean in the early 1990, by the Eastern Mediterranean Transient. Considering that deep water formation processes provide occasionally inorganic nutrients to the euphotic layer, it seems that BSW through its uninterrupted supply of small quantities of nutrients should play an additional role in the production in the North Aegean Sea.
North Aegean, Nutrients, Dissolved Oxygen, Nutrient ratios.