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Exceptional dense water formation on the Adriatic shelf in the winter of 2012

Author(s): H. Mihanović | I. Vilibić | S. Carniel | M. Tudor | A. Russo | A. Bergamasco | N. Bubić | Z. Ljubešić | D. Viličić | A. Boldrin | V. Malačič | M. Celio | C. Comici | F. Raicich

Journal: Ocean Science Discussions (OSD)
ISSN 1812-0806

Volume: 9;
Issue: 6;
Start page: 3701;
Date: 2012;
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We document dense water formation (DWF) 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 DWF 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 DWF 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 DWF, effects on the thermohaline circulation and deep aquatic systems, and connection with climate change are discussed.

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