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Vertical structure and temporal evolution of an anticyclonic eddy in the Balearic Sea (western Mediterranean)

June 16, 2013

An anticyclonic eddy in the Balearic Sea (western Mediterranean) was described using data from a mooring line deployed at the northern slope of Mallorca Island at about 900 m deep. Its surface signature was investigated using sea surface height and sea surface temperature images. The eddy, which lasted around 1 month, modified the thermohaline characteristics and the currents of the entire water column. Levantine Intermediate Waters, usually resident in the region, were displaced by colder and fresher Western Mediterranean Intermediate Waters associated with the eddy. Along-slope main currents (toward NE) were completely reversed at 500 m and significantly deviated at 900 m. Interestingly, near-bottom velocities were found to be systematically larger than those at intermediate depths. Furthermore, during the eddy, velocities reached values up to 26 cm/s at the bottom, 5 times larger than the bottom average speed. The recurrence of the phenomenon was explored with an eddy detection tool applied to satellite observations. Results indicated that anticyclonic eddies are common structures in the Balearic Current.

Amores A, Montserrat S, Marcos M, 2013, Vertical structure and temporal evolution of an anticyclonic eddy in the Balearic Sea (western Mediterranean), Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 118, 4, 2097–2106, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20150. Article.

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