NW Adriatic Sea biogeochemical variability in the last 20 years (1986–2005)
Abstract. This paper presents a long-term time series (1986–2005) of hydrological and biogeochemical data, both published and unpublished. Data were collected in the north-western area of the Adriatic Sea, at two stations that are considered hydrodynamically and trophically different. The time series have been statistically and graphically analysed on a monthly scale in order to study the annual climatologies, links between the concentrations of chlorophyll-a and the variability in the environment, trophic differences between the two areas and chlorophyll-a trends over time. Basically, the two areas have similar hydrological features, yet they present significant differences in the amount of nutrient inputs: these are in fact higher at the coastal site, which is characterized by a prevalence of surface blooms, while they are lower at the offshore station, which is mainly affected by blooms at intermediate depths. Nonetheless, throughout the whole water column, chlorophyll-a concentrations are only slightly different. Both areas are affected by riverine discharge, though chlorophyll-a concentrations are also driven strongly by the seasonal cycle at the station closer to the coast. Results show that the two stations are not trophically different, although some controlling factors, such as zooplankton grazing in one case and light attenuation in the other, may further regulate the growth of phytoplankton. In both cases no significant trends are detected in either the average chlorophyll-a values or in dispersion of the data, in contrast with significant trends in temperature and salinity.