Sea of Azov Waters in the Black Sea: Do They Enhance Wind-Driven Flows on the Shelf?
This paper was initially motivated by an observational case study conducted in May 2015 on the shelf of the Crimea Peninsula, just west of the Kerch Strait, through which the Black Sea receives the inflow of lower salinity, higher turbidity water from the Sea of Azov. The latter often propagates westward along the coast, creating two-layered vertical stratification, which, however, is intermittent and depends on wind-controlled dynamics of the Azov “plume”. In the field campaign of 2015, it was observed that the cross-shore components of the current velocity in the surface and bottom layers were strongly anti-correlated during the periods of stratification, and completely uncorrelated during the periods when stratification relaxed. This suggests that the buoyant discharges from the Kerch Strait may enhance wind-driven currents responsible for cross-shelf exchanges. To verify this hypothesis, we developed two simple semi-analytical 2D models of wind-driven flow on the Crimean shelf, aimed to simulate the effect of damping vertical mixing on the cross-shelf transport. One model represents the two-layered stratification and the other one the continuous stratification with eddy viscosity linearly decreasing downwards. Both models demonstrated that, indeed, the plume-generated stratification may significantly enhance both the cross-shelf wind drift in the upper layer and the compensating flow in the bottom layer.
The field work was partly funded by the Russian Science Foundation (grant 14-50-00095), the modeling study was supported by the Russian Ministry of Science and Education (project 14.W03.31.0006).
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