The mean circulation of the southwestern Mediterranean Sea: Algerian Gyres.

Testor, Pierre, Send, Uwe, Gascard, J.-C., Millot, C., Taupier-Letage, I. and Beranger, K. (2005) The mean circulation of the southwestern Mediterranean Sea: Algerian Gyres. Open Access Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 110 (C11). C11017. DOI 10.1029/2004JC002861.

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This is a study about the general circulation of the southwestern Mediterranean Sea based on observations of currents carried out in the southwestern Mediterranean Sea in the framework of the Mass Transfer and Ecosystem Response (MATER) program (EEC/MAST3 program). From July 1997 to August 2002, profiling floats (MEDPROF experiment), isobaric floats (LIWEX experiment), and moored current meters (ELISA experiment) give evidence of two large-scale barotropic cyclonic circulations, the here-called Western and Eastern Algerian Gyres, centered around [3730′N, 230′E] and [3830′N, 600′E], respectively. These gyres have typical horizontal scales of 100–300 km and are characterized by orbital velocities of about 5 cm/s corresponding to rotational periods of about 4 months. They are strongly related to the bottom topography of the basin and to the planetary vorticity gradient: closed f/H isocontours (f is the planetary vorticity, H the water depth) correspond to the locations of the gyres and favor such circulations as free geostrophic modes. A linear and barotropic model is used to investigate the possibility of wind driving, but the results suggest that the wind stress is not responsible for establishing such circulations. The boundary currents flowing along the continental slope of Africa, Sardinia, and the Balearic Islands are proposed to be the main drivers of these gyres.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Oceanography; mediterranean sea, algerian gyres, Mean circulation, Mediterranean Sea; general circulation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1029/2004JC002861
ISSN: 2169-9275
Projects: MAST
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:50
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2018 09:34

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