Particle dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea: A synthesis based on light transmission, PMC, and POC archives (1991-2001) Academic Article uri icon


  • During the last two decades light transmission (LT) data have been collected routinely in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, within the framework of several research projects. A procedure was developed to obtain beam attenuation coefficient due to particles (cp) at 660-670 nm adjusted for variations in mid-depth 'clear' water and instrumental drifts. Data from 3146 stations occupied between 1991 and 2001 were converted to a common format for the analysis of particulate matter (PM) temporal and spatial distribution patterns. The data were separated into 'wet' (December-May) and 'dry' (June-November) periods. The horizontal distribution of beam cp at various depths revealed clearly higher values in the surface nepheloid layer (SNL) in the vicinity of river mouths during the 'wet' period, whilst the increase was negligible during the 'dry' period. In contrast, the bottom nepheloid layer (BNL; 1-10 m above bottom) appeared to be turbid throughout the year, particularly on the continental shelves receiving riverine discharge. This feature is attributed to resuspension and advection of recently deposited bottom sediments due to waves and currents. However, the Eastern Mediterranean as a whole is impoverished in PM in the water column, particularly at depths >200 m. The behavior of surface-water cp revealed a strong relationship to mesoscale dynamic features. Cyclonic eddies, which upwell nutrient-rich waters toward the surface, favor primary production, which was identified as elevated beam cp values. Beam cp was correlated with PM concentration (PMC) and particulate organic carbon (POC) concentration obtained by bottle sampling. Although there were regional differences in the correlations, no significant seasonal variations were observed. Two generic equations were generated that can be used for a first-order estimate of PMC and POC from historical LT measurements conducted in the area, provided that data are handled according to the proposed methodology. 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Karageorgis, A. P., Gardner, W. D., Georgopoulos, D., Mishonov, A. V., Krasakopoulou, E., & Anagnostou, C.

citation count

  • 41

complete list of authors

  • Karageorgis, Aristomenis P||Gardner, Wilford D||Georgopoulos, Dimitris||Mishonov, Alexey V||Krasakopoulou, Evangelia||Anagnostou, Christos

publication date

  • January 2008