A new intermittent regime of convective ventilation threatens the Black Sea oxygenation status

Capet, Arthur; Vandenbulcke, Luc; Grégoire, Marilaure

The Black Sea is entirely anoxic, except for a thin (inline-formula∼ 100 m) ventilated surface layer. Since 1955, the oxygen content of this upper layer has decreased by 44 %. The reasons hypothesized for this decrease are, first, a period of eutrophication from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s and, second, a reduction in the ventilation processes, suspected for recent years (post-2005). Here, we show that the Black Sea convective ventilation regime has been drastically altered by atmospheric warming during the last decade. Since 2009, the prevailing regime has been below the range of variability recorded since 1955 and has been characterized by consecutive years during which the usual partial renewal of intermediate water has not occurred. Oxygen records from the last decade are used to detail the relationship between cold-water formation events and oxygenation at different density levels, to highlight the role of convective ventilation in the oxygen budget of the intermediate layers and to emphasize the impact that a persistence in the reduced ventilation regime would bear on the oxygenation structure of the Black Sea and on its biogeochemical balance.

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Capet, Arthur / Vandenbulcke, Luc / Grégoire, Marilaure: A new intermittent regime of convective ventilation threatens the Black Sea oxygenation status. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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