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Atlas of Climatic Changes in Large Marine Ecosystems of the Northern Hemisphere (1878-2013)

Preface by Kenneth Sherman...

The late 20th century to the early 21st century is characterized as an epoch of global climatic changes affecting diverse aspects of human activity in many countries. With this in mind and under such conditions, conclusions on the trends of climate change are important both from the scientific and practical points of view. Climate change forecasts are a significant element of economic infrastructure development and planning. Climate change is significant for countries that have access to the seas since the coastal areas are distinguished by highly developed economic infrastructure. These coastal areas are sensitive and subject to extreme weather and climatic phenomena.

Climate change studies require international cooperation in terms of environmental data collection and analysis. Understanding the mechanisms of climate change and modeling prognoses at various spatial and temporal scales are the focus of these data collection and analyses efforts. The objective of this Atlas was to unite the efforts of specialists from Russia, United States, and Ukraine to form and develop an oceanographic database. The goal was to create a database that is accessible and openly available to the international community. In so doing, climatic changes over vast marine areas of the Northern Hemisphere can be documented.

The Atlas covers eight large marine ecosystems of the Barents Sea (including the White Sea subarea), Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, and the Bering Sea (both Eastern and Western LMEs) in the north and of the Black Sea (including the Sea of Azov subarea) and Caspian Sea in the south.

Apart from the primary oceanographic data, this Atlas contains the results of data collection on climatic variability of hydrological processes in the Arctic and in the Caspian Azov and Black Seas. Vertical mean climatic distributions of salinity and water temperature have been constructed for the hydrological transects of the Barents Sea, Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and the Caspian Sea by month of each year. Anomalies were also recorded during the same time period.

Long-term data on the Barents Sea ice conditions, fishery charts, variability of ice conditions in the Sea of Azov and the Caspian Sea are presented for the first time.

The cooperation between specialists from Russia (SSC RAS in Rostov-on-Don) and Ukraine (Marine Department of the UkrNIGMI in Sevastopol) resulted in the significant enlargement of the Sea of Azov database (up to 67 thousand sea stations).

The Atlas contains observations made by expeditions in 2001-2013 by MMBI KSC RAS (1290 stations in the Barents and Kara Seas) and SSC RAS (7169 stations in the Sea of Azov, Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea).

863 stations have been added to the Barents Sea plankton database. The Sea of Azov plankton database (1411 stations) has become a component of the Atlas for the first time.

The first chapter contains general oceanographic characteristics, key references, discussions on data storage, procedures of quality control for historical and contemporary data, and the methodology.

The second and third chapters give descriptions of the databases for the Arctic and Southern Regions, respectively. Specific features of station distributions are considered for each sea (presented in the database). Samples of construction of time series of water temperature and salinity, ice conditions, and fishery are given for the Barents Sea and the southern seas. In the case of the East and West Bering Sea, ice conditions for the period 1960-2012, inter-annual variability for the period 1955-2012, and assessments of changes of the coastline based on the comparison of navigation charts are considered.

The fourth chapter contains description of the data contained in the DVD disc, which includes databases and graphic materials.

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