Seasonal variability in the Central Mediterranean Sea circulation
Abstract. A high resolution eddy-resolving primitive equation numerical model, based on the Princeton Ocean Model (POM), is used to study the seasonal variability of the general circulation in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The model is run on a seasonal cycle, perpetual year simulation for five years, with nesting to the coarser resolution Ocean General Circulation Model (OGCM), covering the whole Mediterranean Sea. The model results are compared to the current knowledge on the hydrography and dynamics of the area, with a special focus on the annual cycle of the Modified Atlantic Water (MAW), on the circulation in the Sardinia Channel, the water exchange across the Strait of Sicily, and on the transition and fate of the Levantine Intermediate Water (LIW). The results show that the adopted coupling techniques between the two models give a proficient downscaling of the large-scale OGCM flow field into the regional scale model. The numerical solution is also used to highlight the seasonal characteristics of important dynamical features in the area, as well as to shed light on the scarcely known circulation regimes along the north African shelf and slope.
Key words. Oceanography: general (numerical modelling); Oceanography: physical (currents; general circulation)