EGU2020-12104, updated on 12 Jan 2021
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Mediterranean Marine heatwaves: On the comparison of the physical drivers behind the 2003 and 2015 events

Sofia Darmaraki1, Samuel Somot2, Robin Waldman2, Florence Sevault2, Pierre Nabat2, and Eric Oliver1
Sofia Darmaraki et al.
  • 1Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2CNRM (Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques), Université de Toulouse, Météo-France, CNRS, Toulouse, France

Over the last decade, an intensification of extreme warm temperature events, termed as marine heatwaves (MHWs), has been reported in the Mediterranean Sea, itself a “Hot Spot” region for climate change. In the summer of 2003, a major MHW occurred in the Mediterranean with abnormal surface temperature anomalies of 2-3 Cº persisting for over a month. In 2015, an undocumented but more intense summer MHW affected almost the entire Mediterranean Sea with regional temperatures anomalies reaching 4-5 Cº. Here, we apply a MHW detection algorithm for long-lasting and large-scale summer events, on the hindcast output of a fully-coupled regional climate model (RCSM). We first examine the spatial variability and temporal evolution of both the 2003 and 2015 events. Then a basin-scale analysis of the mixed layer heat budget during each MHW is performed. The ocean and atmospheric components’ contribution is investigated separately during the onset, peak, and decay phases of both events, in order to disentangle the dominant physical processes behind each event. On the large-scale, our results indicate a key role of the wind forcing and the air-sea heat fluxes, while advection processes become more important at local scales. This study provides a comparison of the underlying mechanisms behind the two most intense MHW detected in the Mediterranean Sea during the last decade, constituting key information for the marine ecosystems of the region.

How to cite: Darmaraki, S., Somot, S., Waldman, R., Sevault, F., Nabat, P., and Oliver, E.: Mediterranean Marine heatwaves: On the comparison of the physical drivers behind the 2003 and 2015 events, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12104,, 2020


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