Black Sea's eddies

Image of the Month - March 2008


Sea Level Anomalies over the Black Sea between August 20 and September 24, 2003 (a map per week; from left to right and top to bottom). Classical features of the Black Sea circulation (see map below), including eddies, are visible.
(Credits CLS/Ecoop)

Black Sea has seen many ships on its water since Argo with Jason and the Argonauts onboard, gone on a quest to find the golden fleece in Colchis (approximatively on the coasts of  today's Georgia). In particular, the French fleet during Crimea war, from which forty-one ships were lost during a storm in 1854. This storm having been observed along its path all over Europe, the importance of a meteorological survey station network was thus stressed, at the beginning of meteorology in France.

The Black Sea is also a particular sea, with very low salinity, high stratification, so much so that surface waters and deep waters do not mix, thus leading to the fact that the latter have no or very low oxygen. Pollution questions are critical there, especially since this Sea is nearly closed, with a very high river runoff, including for more than half the Danube.

Altimetry enable to observe Black Sea variations, which is often difficult with other space techniques which are blocked by cloud cover. However its pecularities induce specific processing with respect to what is done for oceans, rather similar to what is needed for coastal applications.


Black Sea circulation (permanent or semi-permanent eddies are indicated). (Credits Credits Marine Hydrophysical Institute NAS Ukraine)