Caspian Sea surface circulation variability inferred from satellite altimeter and sea surface temperature



Multiyear (1993–2007) satellite-derived Sea Level Anomaly (SLA), Sea Surface Temperature (SST), and model-derived mean dynamic topography were used together to analyze climatological and interannual variations of the Caspian Sea surface circulation. Constructed geostrophic currents are in good agreement with the known circulation features of the Caspian Sea, obtained from models and verified by some drifter observations. It is shown that the climatological surface circulation of the Middle Caspian Sea (MCS) is dominated by a basin-wide cyclonic circulation in winter, switching to an anticyclonic circulation in summer. A dipole pattern (an anticyclonic eddy near 39.5°N and a cyclonic one near 38°N) exist in the Southern Caspian Sea (SCS) (stronger from September to January). Evaluation of the multiyear geostrophic velocities shows that the Caspian Sea surface circulation exhibits strong interannual variations, with the location and intensity of the circulation patterns changing from one year to another.