A Numerical Study of the Mediterranean Sea Circulation

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  • 1 Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

A primitive equation ocean model that makes use of a curvilinear orthogonal grid and a sigma-coordinate system was used to simulate the Mediterranean Sea The model was forced with monthly climatological values of wind stress, heat, and salinity flux. With the help of the curvilinear horizontal grid, the larger scales of the entire Mediterranean Sea are modeled, and the topography around the narrow and shallow Straits of Gibraltar is also reasonably well represented. The resulting model inflow and outflow seems to mimic the real Mediterranean, often in considerable detail. Levantine Intermediate Water is formed in the Levantine Basin and exits through the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Gibraltar. Deep-water formation processes are clearly represented by the model.

The model results indicate that in the western Mediterranean the wind stress is very important in establishing the summer northward shift of the Atlantic inflow. Lateral boundary runoff, surface salinity, and heat fluxes are necessary for the maintenance of the cyclonic circulation in the northern Balearic Basin and enhance the seasonal reversal of the circulation in the Tyrrhenian Sea. An interesting result is the existence of a seasonal variation in the path of the Levantine Intermediate Water.

Abstract

A primitive equation ocean model that makes use of a curvilinear orthogonal grid and a sigma-coordinate system was used to simulate the Mediterranean Sea The model was forced with monthly climatological values of wind stress, heat, and salinity flux. With the help of the curvilinear horizontal grid, the larger scales of the entire Mediterranean Sea are modeled, and the topography around the narrow and shallow Straits of Gibraltar is also reasonably well represented. The resulting model inflow and outflow seems to mimic the real Mediterranean, often in considerable detail. Levantine Intermediate Water is formed in the Levantine Basin and exits through the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Gibraltar. Deep-water formation processes are clearly represented by the model.

The model results indicate that in the western Mediterranean the wind stress is very important in establishing the summer northward shift of the Atlantic inflow. Lateral boundary runoff, surface salinity, and heat fluxes are necessary for the maintenance of the cyclonic circulation in the northern Balearic Basin and enhance the seasonal reversal of the circulation in the Tyrrhenian Sea. An interesting result is the existence of a seasonal variation in the path of the Levantine Intermediate Water.

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