The Messinian Salinity Crisis

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Modeling the Messinian Salinity Crisis:

         This page discusses the results of the averaged winter circulation.  Locally, the changes in the sea level of the Mediterranean cause changes in temperature, precipitation, and wind fields. The most striking response to the LS experiment is a distinct warming of the Mediterranean basin during the winter (Fig. 2).  As air subsides into the lowered sea it is heated adiabatically.  Heating caused by the air being compressed raises the air temperature by more than 10 K.  However, when the Mediterranean sea is completely dried up and covered with land, the basin isnít warmed as much in the winter.  This is due to differences in the heat capacity, which is much less for land than water, and the diurnal cycle.  The heat capacity is just the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a substance one degree.  It takes much more energy to raise the temperature of the ocean surface that it does to raise the temperature of the land surface.  During the day the land surface will heat up rapidly, but at night it will rapidly cool down.  Thus, taking the average will get rid of this maxima and minima and the difference between the LL and UL from the US is relatively small compared to the change between the US and LS. 



Figure 2:  The difference in the Surface Temperature between the three cases (LS, LL, and UL) and the control (US).


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