Air-Sea Interaction and Coupling with Submesoscale structures
in the MEDiterranean

Assess the role of the ocean meso and submesoscale structures into dense water formation
in the Western Mediterranean

Strong wind events in the North Western Mediterranean (NWM) lead to dense water formation by interacting with the upper ocean dynamics, but not only through the high surface buoyancy loss. In the area of the Gulf of Lions, which is a key spot of deep ocean convection, dense water formation results from the strong interactions, at meso and submesoscales, of the North-Current, the cyclonic gyre and intense atmospheric events like Mistral and Tramontana.

ASICS-MED aims at identifying the fine-scale processes involved in the oceanic and atmospheric boundary layer coupling in order to unravel the mechanisms producing dense water.

Better representing these mechanisms in state-of-the-art ocean models is of crucial importance to accurately simulate both the water masses and the basin-scale thermohaline circulation.

The deliverables expected from ASICS-MED cover the following 3 themes:
    Processing the observations collected in the NWM during the field operations of January-March 2013, documenting the evolution of the air-sea conditions. The observations are provided to the MISTRALS/HyMeX database.

    High-resolution modelling of the convection area including the development of two new parameterizations for ocean convection and turbulent surface fluxes, and a high-resolution ocean-atmosphere coupled model covering the Western Mediterranean.

    Studies of the dynamics of the marine atmospheric boundary layer and of the meso and submesoscale ocean structures, as well as studies of air-sea coupled processes during strong wind events and dense water formation.
ASICS-MED is a major contribution to HyMeX SOP2. ASICS-MED which will address a major issue in physical oceanography should also strongly benefit to operational oceanography as well as to climate studies focusing on the interannual to decadal variability of the Mediterranean system. The ASICS-MED project is also strongly related to the MerMex programme as the modelling and understanding of the physical-ocean component of DWF brought by ASICS should help decipher DWF impacts on marine ecosystems. Both HyMeX and MerMex are funding through the MISTRALS metaprogramme.

ASICS-MED is funded by the French National Research Agency under the white call SIMI 6 2012.

Coordinator : Hervé Giordani (CNRM-GAME)
Funding: ANR Blanc SIMI6 2012
Contact Nr: ANR- 12-BS06-0003
Start date: 01/11/2012
Duration: 4 years

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