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Climatology and process-oriented analysis of the Adriatic sea level extremes

Šepić, Jadranka; Pasarić, Miroslava; Međugorac, Iva; Vilibić, Ivica; Karlović, Maja; Mlinar, Marko (2022) Climatology and process-oriented analysis of the Adriatic sea level extremes. Progress in Oceanography, 209 . ISSN 00796611

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The strongest episodes of extremely high sea levels in the Mediterranean are regularly observed in the Adriatic Sea, where they can cause substantial damage and loss of human lives. In this study, episodes of positive and negative sea level extremes were extracted from hourly series measured at six tide gauge stations located along the Adriatic coast (Venice, Trieste, Rovinj, Bakar, Split, Dubrovnik) between 1956 and 2019/2020. The time series were first checked for spurious data and then decomposed using tidal analysis, least-squares fitting and filtering procedures into (1) trend; (2) seasonal; (3) tide, (4) longer than 100 d (> 100 d), (5) 10–100 d, (6) 6 h-10 d, and (7) < 6 h components. These components correspond to sea level oscillations dominantly (but not exclusively) forced by (1) climate and isostatic change; (2) seasonal changes in thermohaline properties and circulation patterns, (3) tidal forcing, (4) quasi-stationary atmospheric and ocean circulation and climate variability patterns, (5) planetary atmospheric waves, (6) synoptic, and (7) mesoscale atmospheric processes. Significant differences exist between (1) the northern and middle/southern Adriatic extremes and (2) positive and negative extremes. The heights and return levels of positive (negative) extremes are 50–100% higher (lower) in the northern than in the middle/southern Adriatic. The northern Adriatic positive sea level extremes dominantly occur due to the superposition of the 6 h-10 d component and tide (contributing jointly to ~70% of the total extreme height), whereas the middle/southern Adriatic positive extremes mostly occur due to the superposition of the 10–100 d component, 6 h-10 d component, and tide (each contributing ~25% on average). The negative sea level extremes are explained as a combination of the 10–100 d component and tide: in the northern Adriatic tide provides the largest contribution (~60%), while in the middle/southern Adriatic, the impacts of the two processes are similar (each contributing an average of ~30%). Over the entire Adriatic, the <6 h and seasonal components contribute the least to both positive and negative extremes. Sea level trends at all stations are positive; however, the observed sea level rise did not contribute significantly to the total height of extremes. Extreme episodes tend to occur simultaneously over larger parts of the coast and are often clustered within a few days. Both positive and negative extremes have a strong decadal variability, whereas trends of their number, duration and intensity point to shortening of negative extremes and prolonging and strengthening of positive extremes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sea level; extremes; Adriatic Sea
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Geophysics
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Depositing User: Ivica Vilibić
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2023 12:14
DOI: 10.1016/j.pocean.2022.102908

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