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The Adriatic Sea surface temperature historical record from Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer data (1981-1999)

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A long-term time series of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) (1981-1999) data has been used to assess the main physical features in the Adriatic Sea. Individual images were processed to estimate Sea Surface Temperature (SST) values, to create long-term composite fields (weekly, monthly, seasonal scales), and to derive basic statistics for the Northern, Central and Southern regions, each split again into an Eastern and a Western section. At the basin scale, an apparent general warming trend can be recognized in the time series. The linear fit to the seasonal cycles suggests an increase of about 2°C in 20 years, essentially due to a steady rise of summer values. A general north-south gradient can be found during winter, the Northern sections being colder than the Southern ones. An east-west gradient appears during summer, the Western sections being warmer then their Eastern ones. The Northern Adriatic exhibits substantial fluctuations, possibly linked to the cycle of winter cooling and summer warming in the relatively shallow sub-basin. The North Western section shows larger fluctuations than the North Eastern one, with lower winter SST, probably due to the freshwater inflow from the Po River delta. The Southern Adriatic exhibits less variability, possibly influenced by the periodic water exchanges with the Ionian Sea. The South Eastern section shows somewhat larger fluctuations than the South Western one, with higher winter SST, probably due to the inflow of warmer waters from the south. The two Central sections reveal patterns similar to the ones of the whole basin. The observed temperature patterns appear to follow the classical Adriatic cyclonic circulation scheme.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Joint Research Centre of the European Commission 21020, Ispra (VA) Italy

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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