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

Analysis of Vertical Velocities Development through High-resolution Simulation and Glider Observations in the Alboran Sea

Maximo Garcia-Jove1, Baptiste Mourre1, Nikolaos Zarokanellos1, Pierre F. J. Lermusiaux2, Daniel L. Rudnick3, John Allen1, and Joaquín Tintoré1,4
Maximo Garcia-Jove et al.
  • 1Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB), Modelling and Forecasting Facility, Palma, Spain (
  • 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA
  • 3Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, USA
  • 4Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB)), Esporles, Spain

Vertical velocities associated with meso- and submeso-scale structures generate important vertical fluxes of carbon and other biogeochemical tracers from the surface layer to depths below the mixed layer. Vertical velocities are very weak and characterized by small scales which make them difficult to measure. The project entitled Coherent Lagrangian Pathways from the Surface Ocean to Interior (CALYPSO, Office of Naval Research initiative) addresses the challenge of observing, understanding, and predicting the vertical velocities and three-dimensional pathways on subduction processes in the frontal regions of the Alboran Sea. Within the framework of the CALYPSO project, we analysed the processes that give rise to vertical velocities in the Western Alboran Gyre Front (WAGF) and Eastern Alboran Gyre Front (EAGF). The periods of frontal intensification were analyzed in the perspective of the frontogenesis, instabilities, non-linear Ekman effects, and filamentogenesis using multi-platform in-situ observations and a high-resolution simulation in spring 2018. The spatio-temporal characteristics of the WAGF indicate a wider, deeper, and longer-lasting front than the EAGF. The WAGF intensification and vertical velocities development are explained through i) frontogenesis, ii) conditions for symmetric and ageostrophic baroclinic instabilities generation, and iii) nonlinear Ekman effects. These mechanisms participate to generate and strengthen an ageostrophic secondary circulation responsible for vertical velocities intensification in the front. In the case of the EAGF, the intensification and vertical velocities development are explained by filamentogenesis in both the model and glider observations. The EAGF intensification is characterized by a sharp and outcropping density gradient at the center of the filament, where two asymmetrical ageostrophic cells develop across the front with narrow upwelling region in the middle.

How to cite: Garcia-Jove, M., Mourre, B., Zarokanellos, N., Lermusiaux, P. F. J., Rudnick, D. L., Allen, J., and Tintoré, J.: Analysis of Vertical Velocities Development through High-resolution Simulation and Glider Observations in the Alboran Sea, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8945,, 2021.

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