Seasonal Variation of Stratified Flow Behavior in A Sea Strait: A Field Study

Creative Commons License

Altaş F., Öztürk M.

EGU General Assembly 2021, Vienna, Austria, 19 April - 30 June 2021, pp.369

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • Doi Number: 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-369
  • City: Vienna
  • Country: Austria
  • Page Numbers: pp.369
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Straits connecting two large water bodies present a highly strong, complex, and stratified flow

structure. The barotropic (related to water level) and baroclinic (related to density) structure of the

neighboring seas and the morphology of the strait are decisive on the exchange flow properties

through the strait.

As it is a typical example of hydrodynamically complex straits, in this paper, the annual flow

structure of the Bosphorus is analyzed. A long-term (one year) current profiles (at three locations),

water levels (close to both entrances), CTD measurements at some measurement stations (both at

the surface and on the bottom), meteorological (wind speed, wind direction, and atmospheric

pressure variation at both entrances) measurements and discharges of the Danube River, which

controls the water level of the strait during the late spring, were analyzed.

The Bosphorus is one of the most strategic and busiest waterways in the world connecting the

Blacksea to the Mediterranean with the Dardanelles. It presents a two-layer flow structure and the

upper layer flow is incomparably much dynamic than the lower one. The results of the study may

be highlighted as follows:

1) The water level difference (Δη) between both entrances of the Bosphorus, which is the driving

forcing for the southward upper layer flow, shows notable fluctuations throughout the year.

2) The meteorological set-up (wind speed, and atmospheric pressure) is much severe and decisive

over Δη during the autumn and the winter, which causes large fluctuations in order of 40 cm (O(40

cm)) over a few day scales. During this period of the year, the typical two-layer flow structure of

the strait frequently disappears, and one layer, either southward or in the opposite direction

depending on the wind directions, dominates the water column at the measurement locations.

3) The freshwater intrusion to the Blacksea from the major rivers (especially the Danube River)

reaches the Bosphorus with around one-month phase (time) lag and controls the water level

difference and, so, the current structure of the strait for around 40-45 days from late Spring to

early Summer. This period of the year and the rest of the summer is meteorologically calm and, as

a result, the water level difference and the current structure is much stable during this time compared to the rest of the year.

4) The seasonal salinity and temperature variations are higher at the surface compared to the

bottom. The notable fluctuations are observed both in salinity (> 5 PSU) and in temperature (~ 5

°C) over a short-term period (from a few days to a week) due to severe meteorological conditions

which are evident during the fall and winter.

5) The salinity of both layers show temporal variation. The salinity of the top layer was around 17

PSU at the Blacksea entrance of the strait. Due to the mixing, this value increased to 22 PSU at the

Sea of Marmara entrance. The salinities of the bottom layer starts from 38 PSU at the south

entrance and drops to 32-35 PSU at the north one.

Keywords: stratified flows, measurement, The Bosphorus, hydrodynamics, the Danube River.