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A high resolution eddy resolving model of the North-Western Mediterranean Sea


Garreau Pierre

A high resolution (1.2 kilometre) eddy resolving model based on the MARS-3D code of IFREMER, is used to simulate the North-Western Mediterranean Sea circulation for one year. The MENOR configuration is nested in the operational ocean global model of MFS (Mediterranean ocean Forecasting System and has been built for both operational and research purposes. Taking into account the effect of the orography, an atmospheric model (MM5) provides heat surface fluxes and winds on a 3 km grid every 3 hours. In order to be physically relevant the domain extends North from the Balearic front modelling the whole cyclonic circulation of Modified Atlantic Water. The simulation exhibits the main part of physical processes observed in this area (A thin, strong and unstable North current, a realistic annual behaviour of the flux trough the Corsica Strait, dense water formation in the Gulf of Lion, eddies in the centre of the cyclone during spring )

Recently, an in-situ experiment (ECOLOPHY) was performed in the Eastern entrance of the Gulf of Lion, during summer and winter 2005. This area is considered as the generation zone of current instability and sub-mesoscale eddies. During this experiment drifting buoys, launched in the North Current front of Toulon, did several current eddies and their trajectories revealed intrusions of slope water onto the shelf. Comparison between measurement and modelling has been performed.

Finally a zoom nested in MENOR configuration, with a 400 meter resolution, has been implemented on the Gulf of Lion area with the aim of evaluating the model capacity to simulate these current instabilities. Hence, results will be compared to ADCP measurements along tracks, to 4 moorings and to CTD and XBT profile data.