The Gulf of Cadiz-Alboran Sea sub-basin: Model setup, exchange and seasonal variability

Peliz A, Boutov D, Cardoso RM, Delgado J, Soares PMM
Ocean Modelling, vol. 61, 49–67, doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2011.03.031.

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A high resolution (~2 km) 20-year simulation forced with a high resolution (~9 km) winds and air–sea fluxes covering the Gulf of Cadiz and the Alboran Sea is described. The across-strait mass flux becomes a critical issue and the strategy that was adopted towards a correct implementation of the exchange is reported. A net transport previously calculated is forced in the barotropic mode through the boundaries, and the model is left free to adjust the exchange (inflow/outflow) to the imposed mass flux. A thoroughly comparison of the model results with observations and other exchange estimates are provided and new values are proposed. The model reproduces the main modes of outflow variability with statistics almost identical to the observed ones (0:78~0:09 Sv). For the inflow, the model values (0:83~0:056 Sv) are compared with observations and new estimates are provided and analyzed. Despite the fact that the mixing processes inside the strait are under-resolved, the product water masses to the west (Mediterranean outflow) and to the east (Atlantic Water – inflow) are well represented in the model. The mean circulation features are described and compared with observations from a few long-term moorings, and analyzed in light of existing literature.