Propagation of the Black Sea Waters in the Sea of Azov Based on the Satellite Data and the NEMO Model

N. V. Vasilenko, A. A. Aleskerova, A. A. Kubryakov, A. I. Mizyuk, S. V. Stanichny

Marine Hydrophysical Institute of RAS, Sevastopol, Russian Federation



Purpose. The paper is purposed at studying the dynamics and reasons of the Black Sea water inflows to the Sea of Azov, as well as the features of their seasonal variability.

Methods and Results. Medium and high resolution satellite data, and also the results of numerical modeling the salinity field of the Azov-Black Sea basin for 2008-2009 by the high resolution (1 km) NEMO model were used. The analysis showed that the transparent and salty Black Sea waters were recorded most frequently in the southern and southeastern parts of the Azov Sea during a cold season. Based on the satellite measurements, the maximum number of inflows was observed in November and March, and the minimum one – from June to October. Similar results were obtained from the data of numerical calculations for 2008-2009: in winter, intense salt water inflows to the Sea of Azov (the flow exceeds 20 tons/s) are observed in a third of cases, and in some cases, the estimated salt flux attains 60 tons/s, whereas in summer their number is close to zero. Further the Black Sea waters move predominantly in a cyclonic direction, sometimes reaching the basin center. In some cases, high density gradients induce the development of an intense cyclonic eddy near the strait at the front of the Black Sea water inflows. The simulation data made it possible to assess the relationship between the wind and the salt fluxes to the Sea of Azov. It is shown that this relationship is of a cubic nature that is partly explained by increase of the inflowing water salinity caused by the intensified vertical mixing during the storms.

Conclusions. The main hydrodynamic reasons for the Black Sea water inflows to the Sea of Azov and their seasonal variability are the following: 1) intense wind transfer during the south winds; 2) frontal currents at the boundary of upwellings near the Kerch Peninsula during the western and southwestern winds; 3) orbital currents of the passing anticyclones which are able to induce a northerly water transport in the strait at any wind conditions.


Sea of Azov, Black Sea, water exchange, Kerch Strait, MODIS, NEMO, current velocity, eddy dynamics, seasonal dynamics, satellite data, water circulation, numerical modeling, water transport, salinity, sea surface temperature, chlorophyll concentration, drift currents, salt flux, hydrooptical characteristics


Analysis of the current velocities and their relation to eddy dynamics was supported by the RSF grant 21-77-10052. Study of the variability of the Black Sea water inflows using the satellite data was carried out with the support of the state assignment FNNN-2021-0006.

Original russian text

Original Russian Text © The Authors, 2023, published in MORSKOY GIDROFIZICHESKIY ZHURNAL, Vol. 39, Iss. 4 (2023)

For citation

Vasilenko, N.V., Aleskerova, A.A., Kubryakov, A.A., Mizyuk, A.I. and Stanichny, S.V., 2023. Propagation of the Black Sea Waters in the Sea of Azov Based on the Satellite Data and the NEMO Model. Physical Oceanography, 30(4), pp. 484-507.


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