Spatial and Temporal Variability of the Surface Temperature in the Black Sea Between 2000-2022

Çokacar T.

Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Journal of Marine Sciences and Fisheries, vol.6, no.2, pp.158-165, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


This study presents a comprehensive assessment of the spatio-temporal variability of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) in the Black Sea at monthly to interannual scales, with a focus on understanding its connection to major large-scale atmospheric forcing during the period 2000-2022. Monthly variations of SST in the Black Sea reveal distinct seasonal patterns. The study evaluates the potential impacts of large-scale atmospheric patterns on interannual SST variations using climate indices such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), East Atlantic/West Russia (EA-WR) and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) during the winter months. The results indicated that these large-scale atmospheric oscillations played a substantial role in influencing SST anomalies, with the NAO and EA-WR indices particularly affecting the Black Sea's SST anomalies. The NAO index exhibited negative values during warm winters and positive values during cold winters, with extreme cold and warm winters corresponding to specific years, as observed in 2003, 2006, 2012, 2017 (cold) and 2018, 2020, 2021 (warm). Notably, the relationship between NAO and SST anomalies was not as dominant during 2000-2022. This difference might be explained by the combined influence of NAO and ENSO, which is beyond the scope of this study. The EA-WR pattern was identified as another significant large-scale atmospheric dynamic affecting the Black Sea's SST. Although it explains the cold SST anomalies in certain years, it cannot account for extreme warm SST years. While the influence of ENSO remains somewhat inconclusive for the extreme warm period, the SST pattern between 2016-2022 aligns closely with El Niño events, particularly in 2018 and 2021 when positive SOI index values coincide with warm SST years in the Black Sea.