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Jorge Vazquez-Cuervo, Jordi Font, and Juan J. Martinez-Benjamin


Data from the altimeter onboard the European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERSI) was used to Study the circulation of the Alboran Sea between 35° and 38°N, 0° and 6°W. This region is dominated by two anticyclonic gyres that are quasi-stationary in space but at times collapse over periods as short as 9 days. Maps of sea level residual, between February 1992 and December 1993, were created from the ERSI data with high correlation between sea surface temperature and residual sea level in the eastern part of the Alboran Sea. The spatially coherent signal was then extracted using the technique of complex empirical orthogonal analysis with the first three modes statistically significant.

The variability of the first complex empirical orthogonal function mode appears to be associated with the incoming jet through the straits of Gibraltar with three time periods of high amplitude during the 1992–93 time frame. The second and third modes appear to be associated with the variability of both the western and eastern gyres. Westward propagation in the third mode is evident in the area of the eastern anticyclonic gyre and consistent with previous model simulations. The results indicate that combining sea surface temperature data and sea level data from altimetry holds promise for understanding the circulation of the Western Mediterranean.

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M. Talone, C. Gabarró, A. Camps, R. Sabia, J. Gourrion, M. Vall-llossera, and J. Font


The interests of the scientific community working on the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) ocean salinity level 2 processor definition are currently focused on improving the performance of the retrieval algorithm, which is based on an iterative procedure where a cost function relating models, measurements, and auxiliary data is minimized. For this reason, most of the effort is currently focused on the analysis and the optimization of the cost function.

Within this framework, this study represents a contribution to the assessment of one of the pending issues in the definition of the cost function: the optimal weight to be given to the radiometric measurements with respect to the weight given to the background geophysical terms.

A whole month of brightness temperature acquisitions have been simulated by means of the SMOS-End-to-End Performance Simulator. The level 2 retrieval has been performed using the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) level 2 processor simulator using four different configurations, namely, the direct covariance matrices, the two cost functions currently described in the SMOS literature, and, finally, a new weight (the so-called effective number of measurement).

Results show that not even the proposed weight properly drives the minimization, and that the current cost function has to be modified in order to avoid the introduction of artifacts in the retrieval procedure. The calculation of the brightness temperature misfit covariance matrices reveals the presence of very complex patterns, and the inclusion of those in the cost function strongly modifies the retrieval performance. Worse but more Gaussian results are obtained, pointing out the need for a more accurate modeling of the correlation between brightness temperature misfits, in order to ensure a proper balancing with the relative weights to be given to the geophysical terms.

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G. Reverdin, S. Morisset, J. Boutin, N. Martin, M. Sena-Martins, F. Gaillard, P. Blouch, J. Rolland, J. Font, J. Salvador, P. Fernández, and D. Stammer


Salinity measurements from 119 surface drifters in 2007–12 were assessed; 80% [Surface Velocity Program with a barometer with a salinity sensor (SVP-BS)] and 75% [SVP with salinity (SVP-S)] of the salinity data were found to be usable, after editing out some spikes. Sudden salinity jumps are found in drifter salinity records that are not always associated with temperature jumps, in particular in the wet tropics. A method is proposed to decide whether and how to correct those jumps, and the uncertainty in the correction applied. Northeast of South America, in a region influenced by the Amazon plume and fresh coastal water, drifter salinity is very variable, but a comparison with data from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite suggests that this variability is usually reasonable. The drifter salinity accuracy is then explored based on comparisons with data from Argo floats and from thermosalinographs (TSGs) of ships of opportunity. SVP-S/SVP-BS drifter records do not usually present significant biases within the first 6 months, but afterward biases sometimes need to be corrected (altogether, 16% of the SVP-BS records). Biases start earlier after 3 months for drifters not protected by antifouling paint. For the few drifters for which large corrections were applied to portions of the record, the accuracy cannot be proven to be better than 0.1 psu, and it cannot be proven to be better than 0.5 psu for data in the largest variability area off northeast South America. Elsewhere, after excluding portions of the records with suspicious salinity jumps or when large corrections were applied, the comparisons rule out average biases in individual drifter salinity record larger than 0.02 psu (midlatitudes) and 0.05 psu (tropics).

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P. Drobinski, V. Ducrocq, P. Alpert, E. Anagnostou, K. Béranger, M. Borga, I. Braud, A. Chanzy, S. Davolio, G. Delrieu, C. Estournel, N. Filali Boubrahmi, J. Font, V. Grubišić, S. Gualdi, V. Homar, B. Ivančan-Picek, C. Kottmeier, V. Kotroni, K. Lagouvardos, P. Lionello, M. C. Llasat, W. Ludwig, C. Lutoff, A. Mariotti, E. Richard, R. Romero, R. Rotunno, O. Roussot, I. Ruin, S. Somot, I. Taupier-Letage, J. Tintore, R. Uijlenhoet, and H. Wernli

The Mediterranean countries are experiencing important challenges related to the water cycle, including water shortages and floods, extreme winds, and ice/snow storms, that impact critically the socioeconomic vitality in the area (causing damage to property, threatening lives, affecting the energy and transportation sectors, etc.). There are gaps in our understanding of the Mediterranean water cycle and its dynamics that include the variability of the Mediterranean Sea water budget and its feedback on the variability of the continental precipitation through air–sea interactions, the impact of precipitation variability on aquifer recharge, river discharge, and soil water content and vegetation characteristics specific to the Mediterranean basin and the mechanisms that control the location and intensity of heavy precipitating systems that often produce floods. The Hydrological Cycle in Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX) program is a 10-yr concerted experimental effort at the international level that aims to advance the scientific knowledge of the water cycle variability in all compartments (land, sea, and atmosphere) and at various time and spatial scales. It also aims to improve the processes-based models needed for forecasting hydrometeorological extremes and the models of the regional climate system for predicting regional climate variability and evolution. Finally, it aims to assess the social and economic vulnerability to hydrometeorological natural hazards in the Mediterranean and the adaptation capacity of the territories and populations therein to provide support to policy makers to cope with water-related problems under the influence of climate change, by linking scientific outcomes with related policy requirements.

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