Currents and upwelling along the Latium coasts in the Central Tyrrhenian Sea (western Mediterranean)
Abstract. In this study, springtime coastal currents along the Latium coast and their relation to external forcings, mainly wind stress curl and atmospheric pressure, are analysed. As a main result, we find that hydrographical measurements reveal currents parallel to the bottom isobaths, but with isopycnal sloping upwards towards the coast, suggesting the importance of upwellings in determining the coastal currents. This is confirmed by thermal satellite data showing the presence of a ~10-km-wide patch of cold water east of Mount Argentario, i.e. a cyclonic vortex. The current meter data give rather small values of the time-averaged alongshore velocities (~2 cm s–1 for most current meters and ~3 cm s–1 for the current meter placed immediately off the Argentario) and also smaller values for the offshore velocities. The correlation between these two types of currents is rather poor; this is also due to the variability characteristic of a wind-induced upwelling. Finally, we obtain a value of 0.74 for the correlation between the alongshore current (first mode of Empirical Orthogonal Functions decomposition) and the wind stress if a 23-h time lag is assumed.