1Hydrographic Institute of the Republic of Croatia, Split, Croatia
2Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Split, Croatia
3CNR – Istituto di Scienze Marine, Venice, Italy
4Meteorological and Hydrological Service of Croatia, Zagreb, Croatia
5DISVA, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
6CNR – Istituto di Scienze Marine, Bologna, Italy
7Division of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
8National Institute of Biology, Marine Biological Station, Piran, Slovenia
9Regional Environmental Protection Agency – ARPA FVG, Palmanova, Italy
10Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale – OGS, Trieste, Italy
11CNR – Istituto di Scienze Marine, Trieste, Italy
Received: 09 Nov 2012 – Published in Ocean Sci. Discuss.: 06 Dec 2012
Abstract. In this paper we document dense water formation throughout the Adriatic shelf and coastal area in January/February 2012, resulting in record-breaking densities observed during and after the event. The unprecedented dense water generation was preconditioned by a dry and warm year which resulted in a significant reduction of coastal freshwaters, superimposed on a long-term basin-wide salinity increase. The final event that triggered the dense water formation was an extended period of cold weather with strong and severe winds. Record-breaking potential density anomalies (above 30 kg m−3) were measured at several formation sites. Accumulated surface net heat and water losses in some coastal regions exceeded 1.5 GJ m−2 and 250 kg m−2 over 21 days, respectively. Excessiveness, importance of shelf-type dense water formation and effects on the thermohaline circulation and deep aquatic systems are discussed.
Revised: 17 May 2013 – Accepted: 17 May 2013 – Published: 14 Jun 2013
Citation: Mihanović, H., Vilibić, I., Carniel, S., Tudor, M., Russo, A., Bergamasco, A., Bubić, N., Ljubešić, Z., Viličić, D., Boldrin, A., Malačič, V., Celio, M., Comici, C., and Raicich, F.: Exceptional dense water formation on the Adriatic shelf in the winter of 2012, Ocean Sci., 9, 561-572, doi:10.5194/os-9-561-2013, 2013.