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Authors: Gertman, I.* 
Pinardi, N.* 
Popov, Y.* 
Hecht, A.* 
Title: Aegean Sea Water Masses during the Early Stages of the Eastern Mediterranean Climatic Transient
Issue Date: 2006
Series/Report no.: / 36 (2006)
Keywords: Aegean Sea
Water Masses
Subject Classification03. Hydrosphere::03.03. Physical::03.03.03. Interannual-to-decadal ocean variability 
Abstract: The Aegean water masses and circulation structure are studied via two large-scale surveys performed during the late winters of 1988 and 1990 by the R/V Yakov Gakkel of the former Soviet Union. The analysis of these data sheds light on the mechanisms of water mass formation in the Aegean Sea that triggered the outflow of Cretan Deep Water (CDW) from the Cretan Sea into the abyssal basins of the eastern Mediterranean Sea (the so-called Eastern Mediterranean Transient). It is found that the central Aegean Basin is the site of the formation of Aegean Intermediate Water, which slides southward and, depending on their density, renews either the intermediate or the deep water of the Cretan Sea. During the winter of 1988, the Cretan Sea waters were renewed mainly at intermediate levels, while during the winter of 1990 it was mainly the volume of CDW that increased. This Aegean water mass redistribution and formation process in 1990 differed from that in 1988 in two major aspects: (i) during the winter of 1990 the position of the front between the Black Sea Water and the Levantine Surface Water was displaced farther north than during the winter of 1988 and (ii) heavier waters were formed in 1990 as a result of enhanced lateral advection of salty Levantine Surface Water that enriched the intermediate waters with salt. In 1990 the 29.2 isopycnal rose to the surface of the central basin and a large volume of CDW filled the Cretan Basin. It is found that, already in 1988, the 29.2 isopycnal surface, which we assume is the lowest density of the CDW, was shallower than the Kassos Strait sill and thus CDW egressed into the Eastern Mediterranean.
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