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Aspects of the surface circulation in the Liguro-Provençal basin and Gulf of Lion as observed by satellite-tracked drifters (2007-2009)

Poulain, P. -M. and Gerin, R. and Rixen, M. and Zanasca, P. and Teixeira, J. and Griffa, A. and Molcard, A. and De Marte, M. and Pinardi, N. (2012) Aspects of the surface circulation in the Liguro-Provençal basin and Gulf of Lion as observed by satellite-tracked drifters (2007-2009). Bollettino di Geofisica Teorica ed Applicata, 53 (2). pp. 261-279. ISSN 0006-6729. doi:10.4430/bgta0052.

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The surface circulation in the Liguro-Provençal basin and Gulf of Lion (north-western Mediterranean) is studied using satellite-tracked drifters in the period 2007-2009. Complex circulation patterns prevailed in the eastern Ligurian Sea, before the drifters joined the Northern Current (NC) in the coastal area off Genoa. Between 5°E and 7°30’E, most drifters (especially in summer) were advected offshore before heading to the east and eventually closing a basin-wide cyclonic circulation. This offshore turning is related to the wind and wind stress curl during north-westerly wind events. In constrast, most drifters proceeded into the Catalan Sea in the fall. Although the Western Corsican Current was well delineated by the drifters, no signature of the Eastern Corsican Current was shown, indicating limited connectivity between the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas in summer 2007. Pseudo-Eulerian velocity statistics were calculated in the coastal region extending between Genoa and the Gulf of Lion. Fast currents are evident on the shelf break, especially off Imperia (maximum of 90 cm/s) where the NC is closer to shore and narrower. A stagnation area inshore of the NC near Fréjus is characterized by little mean flow and low velocity fluctuations. Mean currents are also reduced off Menton-Nice where the variability is maximum. More to the west, the NC broadens and slightly reduces in strength.

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Additional Information:© 2012 Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale. Received: June 17, 2011; accepted: November 23, 2011. We thank the following collaborators for their help with the drifter deployment and recovery operations: Craig Lewis, Joel Gaggelli, Nicoletta Fabbroni, Fabio Brunetti, Nevio Medeot and the captains and crew members of R/V Urania and Italian Navy vessels Galatea and Magnaghi. Thanks to Michela De Domenicis for helping to obtain the Mersea drifters, they were downloaded from the following site: . Cross-Calibrated, Multi-Platform Ocean Surface Wind Velocity (CCMP) products were obtained from the PO.DAAC web page: The satellite altimeter products were produced by SSALTO/DUACS and distributed by AVISO with support from CNES. A. Griffa was supported by ONR grant N00014-05-1-0094 and by the EC ECOOP project.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-05-1-0094
Subject Keywords:surface circulation; drifters; coastal currents; north-western Mediterranean
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120723-103434006
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32635
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:23 Jul 2012 20:15
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 21:28

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