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Esther Capó, Alejandro Orfila, Evan Mason, and Simón Ruiz

Abstract

Energy conversion routes are investigated in the western Mediterranean Sea from the eddy–mean flow interactions. The sources of eddy kinetic energy are analyzed by applying a regional formulation of the Lorenz energy cycle to 18 years of numerical simulation at eddy-resolving resolution (3.5 km), which allows for identifying whether the energy exchange between the mean and eddy flow is local or nonlocal. The patterns of energy conversion between the mean and eddy kinetic and potential energy are estimated in three subregions of the domain: the Alboran Sea, the Algerian Basin, and the northern basin. The spatial characterization of the energy routes hints at the physical mechanisms involved in maintaining the balance, suggesting that flow–topography interaction is strongly linked to eddy growth in most of the domain.

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