Ventilation of the northern Baltic Sea

Neumann, Thomas; Siegel, Herbert; Moros, Matthias; Gerth, Monika; Kniebusch, Madline; Heydebreck, Daniel

The Baltic Sea is a semi-enclosed, brackish water sea in northern Europe. The deep basins of the central Baltic Sea regularly show hypoxic conditions. In contrast, the northern parts of the Baltic Sea, the Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay, are well oxygenated. Lateral inflows or a ventilation due to convection are possible mechanisms for high oxygen concentrations in the deep water of the northern Baltic Sea.

In March 2017, conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) profiles and bottle samples, ice core samples, and brine were collected in the Bothnian Bay. In addition to hydrographic standard parameters, light absorption has been measured in all samples. A complementary numerical model simulation provides quantitative estimates of the spread of newly formed bottom water. The model uses passive and age tracers to identify and trace different water masses.

Observations indicate a recent ventilation of the deep bottom water at one of the observed stations. The analysis of observations and model simulations shows that the Bothnian Bay is ventilated by dense water formed due to mixing of Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay surface water initializing lateral inflows. The observations show the beginning of the inflow and the model simulation demonstrates the further northward spreading of bottom water. These events occur during wintertime when the water temperature is low. Brine rejected during ice formation barely contributes to dense bottom water.



Neumann, Thomas / Siegel, Herbert / Moros, Matthias / et al: Ventilation of the northern Baltic Sea. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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