Meteorological risks in navigation in the western part of the Black Sea

Brindusa-Cristina Chiotoroiu
Naval Academy, Dept. of Navigation, Str. Fulgerului 1-3, 8700 Constanta, Romania.
Tel.: +4041-634506 Fax: +4041-691442 or +4041-643096

Storms in the western part of the Black sea are defined in this study by (1) wind speed higher than 12 m/s and (2) waves higher than 1.252.50 m. Using these values, 185 storms were identified between 1974 and 1993. They are more frequent from October to April. Three types of storms are identified through the location of atmospheric centres at sea level: (a) in the couple anticyclone/depression (with travelling disturbances from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea), 52%, winds are dominantly N, max. wind speed 40 m/s and wave height 9.5 m; (b) storms in a high pressure field (with presence of Mediterranean disturbances or with lowering pressure in the eastern part of the Black Sea), 24%, strong winds are from N-NE; (c) storms in low pressure field, 19%, due to the travelling low pressure systems from the Atlantic or Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea and weaker than the 1st and 2nd type. Winds blow from various directions, but the strongest are from N.

Statistics of navigation accidents near the Romanian shore by stormy weather (established in this study) shows more than 200 ships damaged in l0 years (19811991). Days with accidents at sea are strongly correlated with the storm situations identified. This also indicates that meteorological threshold and storm classification could be used to prevent the perils of the sea in navigation near the Romanian shore of the Black Sea.