EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Strong long-lived anticyclonic mesoscale eddies in the Balearic Sea: formation and intensification mechanisms

Eva Aguiar1, Baptiste Mourre1, Adèle Revélard1, Mélanie Juza1, Aida Alvera-Azcárate2, Ananda Pascual3, Evan Mason3, and Joaquín Tintoré1
Eva Aguiar et al.
  • 1SOCIB- Balearic Island Coastal Observing and Forecasting System, Modelling and Forecasting Facility, Palma, Spain (
  • 2University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
  • 3IMEDEA (UIB-CSIC), Esporles, Spain

Anticyclonic mesoscale eddies are often formed in the Balearic Sea towards the end of summer and autumn. In some years, these eddies become strong and persistent, modifying the ocean currents and water mass properties in the area. The generation and intensification mechanisms of two long-lived events observed in 2010 and 2017 were studied by means of the energy conversion terms associated with eddy-mean flow interactions and through complementary model sensitivity tests.

Results show that these eddies were formed through mixed barotropic and baroclinic instabilities. The former was associated with weak meandering of the shelf current near the coast produced by northwesterly wind events, and the latter with the existence of the northward intrusions of relatively warm waters through the intense Pyrenees thermal front. The intensification mechanism varied between the two events. While in 2010 it was driven by intense salinity gradients in the Balearic Sea, in 2017 it resulted from an extra barotropic energy term fed by northwesterly winds.

These eddies lasted more than two months with a radius varying between 30km and 90km and a vertical structure that reached 1500 m depth. Their presence resulted in a 3ºC anomaly between the warm core waters and the outer parts of the eddies.

How to cite: Aguiar, E., Mourre, B., Revélard, A., Juza, M., Alvera-Azcárate, A., Pascual, A., Mason, E., and Tintoré, J.: Strong long-lived anticyclonic mesoscale eddies in the Balearic Sea: formation and intensification mechanisms, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8742,, 2021.

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