The oceanic response of the Turkish Straits System to an extreme drop in atmospheric pressure

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Book J. W., Jarosz E., Chiggiato J., Besiktepe S.

JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS, vol.119, no.6, pp.3629-3644, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 119 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/2013jc009480
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.3629-3644
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Moorings across all four entry/exit sections of the Dardanelles Strait and the Bosphorus Strait simultaneously measured the response of the Turkish Straits System to the passage of a severe cyclonic storm that included an atmospheric pressure drop of more than 30 mbar in less than 48 h. The bottom pressure response at the Aegean Sea side of the Dardanelles Strait was consistent with an inverted barometer response, but the response at the other sections did not follow an inverted barometer, leading to a large bottom pressure gradient through the Turkish Straits System. Upper-layer flow toward the Aegean Sea was reversed by the storm and flow toward the Black Sea was greatly enhanced. Bottom pressure across the Sea of Marmara peaked 6 h after the passage of the storm's minimum pressure. The response on the Dardanelles side was a combination of sea elevation and pycnocline depth rise, and the response on the Bosphorus side was an even greater sea elevation rise and a drop in pycnocline depth. The peak in bottom pressure in the Sea of Marmara was followed by another reverse in the flow through the Dardanelles Strait as flow was then directed away from the Sea of Marmara in both straits. A simple conceptual model without wind is able to explain fluctuations in bottom pressure in the Sea of Marmara to a 0.89-0.96 level of correlation. This stresses the importance of atmospheric pressure dynamics in driving the mass flux of the Turkish Strait System for extreme storms.