Deep water convection (DC) in winter is one of the major processes driving open-ocean primary productivity in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. DC is highly variable in time, depending on the specific conditions (stratification, circulation and ocean-atmosphere interactions) of each specific winter. This variability also drives the interannual oscillations of open-ocean primary productivity in this important region for many commercially-important fish species.

Global surface temperature has been increasing since the beginning of the 20th century but with a highly variable warming rate, and the alternation of rapid warming periods with ‘hiatus’ decades is a constant throughout the series. The superimposition of a secular warming trend with natural multidecadal variability is the most accepted explanation for such a pattern.