Sea surface temperature variations in the south-eastern BalticSea in 1960–2015

Viktorija Rukšėnienė, Inga Dailidienė, Loreta Kelpšaitė-Rimkienė, Tarmo Soomere

Abstract. This study focuses on time scales and spatial variations of interrelations between average weather conditions and sea surface temperature (SST), and long-term changes in the SST in south-eastern Baltic Sea. The analysis relies on SST samples measured in situ four times a year in up to 17 open sea monitoring stations in Lithuanian waters in 1960–2015. A joint application of non-metric multi-dimensional scaling and cluster analysis reveals four distinct SST regimes and associated sub-regions in the study area. The increase in SST has occurred during both winter and summer seasons in 1960–2015 whereas the switch from relatively warm summer to colder autumn temperatures has been shifted by 4–6 weeks over this time in all sub-regions. The annual average air temperature and SST have increased by 0.03°C yr–1 and 0.02°C yr–1, respectively, from 1960 till 2015. These data are compared with air temperatures measured in coastal meteorological stations and averaged over time intervals from 1 to 9 weeks. Statistically significant positive correlation exists between the SST and the average air temperature. This correlation is strongest for the averaging interval of 35 days.

Keywords • sea monitoring • sea sub-regions • sea surface temperature • sea-air interactions • climate change

Full text