The objective of the project "EUROMODEL" is to develop a 3d mathematical model describing the general circulation of the Western basin of the Mediterranean.
Studies have been made in relation to the description, understanding and simulation of the seasonal and mesoscale variability of the general circulation of the Western Mediterranean. Deep water formation drives the large cyclonic gyre observed in the northern basin. Some seasonal and mesoscale characteristics of the Northern, Tyrrhenian and Western Corsican Currents are specified. The flow through the Strait of Gibralter is not hydraulically controlled. Potential vorticity conservation and changes in the meridional pressure gradients explain the formation of the western Alboran Sea gyre. Cyclonic eddies at its periphery are observed and modelled. The Almeria-Oran jet front system is described in terms of geostrophic adjustment of Modified Atlantic Water and Mediterranean Water. Algerian eddies are linked to baroclinic instability of the Current. A cyclonic circulation around the continental slope in the whole western basin is observed at depth. Upper ocean mesoscale variability is related to downward penetration of near inertial motions as observed near the Catalan front. In the Balearic Sea, spatial and temporal variability of 2 shelf or slope fronts influences the large scale dynamics. A numerical simulation of the Western Mediterranean has been initiated: the sole forcing by the density gradients through the straits of Gibralter and Sicily qualitatively reproduces the basin scale cyclonic surface and intermediate flows and the coastal currents.
The first phase of the project consists essentially of studies of processes relating to the instabilities of the Algerian current, the exchange of water masses across the straits, and mixing in the surface layer. These studies will be undertaken as comparative studies of two primitive equation models and one thermocline model.
The results of these modelling activities will be verified by data already acquired, or in the process of being collected. They will be completed by the analysis of the spatial-temporal variability of the main phenomena characterizing the circulation of the northern part of the basin.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
07071 Palma De Mallorca