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  • Author or Editor: P. E. La Violette x
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C. R. McClain
,
N. E. Huang
, and
P. E. La Violette

Abstract

As part of the Grand Banks Experiment in May 1979, airborne laser profilometer measurements of the ocean wave field were made across a large cold-water extrusion situated over the Newfoundland Ridge. The feature is actually an extension of the Labrador Current which is bordered on the west side by the Gulf Stream and on the east side by the North Atlantic Current. Star-shaped flight patterns were flown over the fronts on each side of the cold-water feature. A graphic technique was applied to the apparent wavenumber spectra in order to determine the changes in wave energy, wavelength and direction of propagation of the dominant wind-wave and swell components as they move across the fronts. At the western front, the sea state increased abruptly and the results indicate that wave-current interactions were the most important mechanism for wave modification although boundary-layer effects were present and increased wave breaking was observed. At the eastern front, changes in the swell are compared to theoretical predictions and are in very close agreement.

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J. Tintore
,
P. E. La Violette
,
I. Blade
, and
A. Cruzado

Abstract

Studies of satellite imagery and space shuttle photographs of the western Mediterranean have indicated that the main path of inflowing Atlantic Water is around two large anticyclonic gyres in the Alboran Sea and along the Algerian Coast. These studies have also shown that a strong ocean front is present between Almeria, Spain, and Oran, Algeria, which is part of the easternmost segment of the Eastern Alboran Gyre. Based on these satellite studies, the first in situ investigation of the front, called here the Almeria–Oran Front, was conducted in March 1986 as part of the winter campaign of the Western Mediterranean Circulation Experiment (WMCE). Analyses of the resulting data show that the Almeria–Oran Front is a large-scale density front, formed by the convergence of two distinct water masses and controlled by the geographic position and strength of the Eastern Alboran Gyre. Physical and biochemical data indicate that the front is limited to the upper 300 m, with a strong southward baroclinic jet. The secondary ageostrophic circulation is characterized by surface convergence, along-isopycnal sinking, and upwelling on the western side of the front.

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