The Red Sea is a deep marine basin often considered as small-scale version of the global ocean. Hydrographic observations and ocean-atmosphere modeling indicate Red Sea deep water was episodically renewed by wintertime open-ocean deep convections during 1982–2001, suggesting a renewal time on the order of a decade. However, the long-term pacing of Red Sea deep water renewals is largely uncertain. We use an annually resolved coral oxygen isotope record of winter surface water conditions to show that the late twentieth century deep water renewals were probably unusual in the context of the preceding ~100 years. More frequent major events are detected during the late Little Ice Age, particularly during the early nineteenth century characterized by large tropical volcanic eruptions. We conclude that Red Sea deep water renewal time is on the order of a decade up to a century, depending on the mean climatic conditions and large-scale interannual climate forcing.
Felis, T., & Mudelsee, M. (2019). Pacing of Red Sea Deep Water Renewal During the Last Centuries. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(8), 4413–4420. doi:10.1029/2019gl082756
We thank F. Yao and I. Hoteit of KAUST (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia) for making their model data available to us, M. Toohey of GEOMAR (Kiel, Germany) for providing the VSSI data, H. Kuhnert of MARUM (Bremen, Germany), and G. Lohmann of AWI (Bremerhaven, Germany) for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. T. F. acknowledges MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen (Germany) for support.