The longest sequences of temperature and salinity data analyzed (from 1900 to present), have confirmed the gradual warming of the waters of the western Mediterranean. The warming has accelerated since the mid 1970's.
Researchers from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona (ICM, CSIC), have demonstrated that the waters of the Western Mediterranean have been warming progressively throughout the twentieth century, this warming being more pronounced since the mid seventies and during the current twenty first century. The rate of warming is around one thousandth per year.
This work, published this May in the Journal of Marine Systems, has reconstructed the longest time series of temperature and salinity in the western Mediterranean, from 1900 to 2008.
In addition, the study shows that the way in which the temperature of the Western Mediterranean deep layer increases is well correlated with the air temperature in the northern hemisphere and with the heat absorbed by the Atlantic Ocean.
Thus, the Western Mediterranean is presented as an excellent indicator of the changes that are occurring in the Earth's climate on a larger scale, and, therefore, the observing systems developed by the IEO and the ICM become very useful tools in the study of climate change.
To perform this study the researchers used data from the current monitoring project funded by IEO in the western Mediterranean IEO: Radmad and from previous projects as Ecomálaga, Ecomurcia and Cirbal, and time series of l'Estartit station (ICM).
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