This study investigates the long-term capacity of the North Aegean coastal systems to transport and store conservative pollutants that originate from the Black Sea. Emphasis is placed on modeling the dispersion and accumulation of a passive tracer that represents a Black Sea pollutant (BSP) substance that continuously discharges from the Dardanelles exit into the North Aegean, for a long period of time (16years). The effects of the Black Sea water (BSW) inflows, meteorological forcing, and seasonal stratification are assessed with a 3D hydrodynamic model (Estuary, Lake and Coastal Ocean Model), after validation with available field data. The salinity, water temperature, and discharge from the Dardanelles Strait are taken to be seasonally varied. According to the authors' best knowledge, the present paper constitutes the first numerical modeling attempt in the literature that apart from the long-term hydrodynamic characteristics that have also been studied in previous works, a suitable tracer is introduced in order to predict the long-term fate, distribution, and accumulation of pollutants that originate from the Black Sea into the North Aegean coastal regions. The overall results of the present investigation indicate that the BSP concentration is very high at the coastal waters of Thassos, Samothraki, and Limnos islands, as well as along the mainland coastal waters between Alexandroupolis and Strymonikos Gulf, during summer and autumn when strong water column stratification occurs. In general, the BSP concentration in the North Aegean surface waters reaches considerable high values (47–58% of the initial pollutant concentration at Dardanelles inflow) within 16years. Even for depths more than 500m the BSP concentration is still remarkable, slightly increasing with time. The increase of the BSP concentration with respect to time at various depths (from free surface up to 750m) is also investigated.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12237-012-9540-9
- North Aegean
- Black Sea
- Conservative tracer
- Surface buoyant plume