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Mediterranean Outflow and Meddies


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co-PIs: Amy Bower (WHOI), Lawrence Armi (SIO/UCSD), Isabel Ambar (U. Lisbon), and Phil Richardson (WHOI)

Project Summary
The Mediterranean salt tongue is a prominent feature of the North Atlantic Ocean at mid-depths. The discovery of isolated lenses of salty Mediterranean Water (meddies) in the last decade has challenged the traditional view of this tongue as a purely advective/diffusive feature. The role of these meddies in the salt and heat budgets of the North Atlantic is not well-understood. We studied the dispersion of Mediterranean Water into the North Atlantic via meddies and other processes. In 1993-1994, we seeded the Mediterranean Undercurrent near its source with Lagrangian drifters. Forty-nine RAFOS floats were launched sequentially in the Mediterranean Undercurrent south of Portugal and tracked for up to 11 months. Our specific objectives to date have been 1) to identify the most important meddy formation site(s); 2) to make the first direct estimate of the frequency of meddy formation; 3) to document the pathways of meddies and their life histories; and 4) to determine the pathways by which Mediterranean Water which is not trapped in the meddies enters the North Atlantic. The trajectories of floats caught in meddies are easily recognizable due to the persistent and rapid anticyclonic motion associated with these features. As a result of this study, we advanced our understanding of how Mediterranean Water enters the subtropical gyre of the North Atlantic.

Structure of the Mediterranean Undercurrent and Mediterranean Water spreading around the southwestern Iberian Peninsula.
Bower, A. S., Nuno Serra, and Isabel Ambar, 2002. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 107(C10), 1-19.

A census of Meddies tracked by floats.
Richardson, P. L., A. S. Bower, and W. Zenk, 2000.  Progress in Oceanography, 45(2), 209-250.

Relative dispersion in the subsurface North Atlantic.
LaCasce, J. H., and A. Bower, 2000.  Journal of Marine Research, 58(6), 863-894.

Some aspects of time variability of the Mediterranean Water off south Portugal.
Ambar, I., L. Armi, A. Bower, and T. Ferreira, 1999. Deep-Sea Research I, 46, 1109 - 1136.

Lagrangian observations of Meddy formation during A Medditerranean Undercurrent Seeding Experiment.
Bower, A. S., L. Armi, and I. Ambar, 1997. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 27, 2545 - 2575.

Direct evidence of meddy formation off the southwest coast of Portugal.
Bower, A. S., L. Armi, and I. Ambar, 1995. Deep-Sea Research I, 42(9), 1621 - 1630.

Technical Reports
A Mediterranean Undercurrent Seeding Experiment (AMUSE): Part II: RAFOS Float Data Report May 1993 - March 1995.
Hunt, H. D., C. M. Wooding, C. L. Chandler, and A. S. Bower, 1998. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Technical Memorandum WHOI-98-14, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 131 pp.

A Mediterranean Undercurrent Seeding Experiment (AMUSE): Part I: Program Description and Hydrographic Measurements.
Bower, A. S., J. Pallant, and C. L. Chandler, 1997.  Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Technical Memorandum WHOI-01-97, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 269 pp.

Data Sets
Data Sets (WFDAC)
Contains RAFOS float data sets for all experiments listed on this page.

Last updated: October 9, 2014

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