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May 2013

Malaga University – Department of Applied Physics
Water Exchanges through the Strait of Gibraltar


Long-term monitoring of currents in the water column at Spartel Section (a North-South section at approximately 5deg 55 min W) to obtain direct estimates of the inflow and outflow rates of water through the Strait of Gibraltar, and different magnitudes derived from them.

The technical objective is to set up monitoring stations in the Strait of Gibraltar to estimate the Mediterranean Outflow accurately (ADCP-based observations) and the Atlantic Inflow into the Mediterranean Sea with the help of indirect estimators and incomplete current-meter data sets.

Long-term monitoring of the exchange is important for studies of climatic variability and trends because of the suspected role the Mediterranean outflow plays in the deep water formation in the North Atlantic and, hence, in the Meridional Overturning Circulation.

It is also a suitable tool to assess the climatic impact in the Mediterranean Sea, since the Strait is a privileged monitoring place to observe changes and trends in this basin. The data collected within the project will allow for investigating other relevant issues about flow exchange through the Strait of Gibraltar.

More local (but not less relevant) scientific issues addressed in the project are related to the internal hydraulics of the Strait. It is known that hydraulic control in the main sill of Camarinal is lost with tidal periodicity. Espartel sill appears to be a permanent control. The verification of this hypothesis is important from a practical point of view to design monitoring strategies. The outflow response to meteorological forcing and whether or not this forcing is able to interrupt it, the study of the fortnightly tidal signal that has great influence on the exchange at subinertial frequencies are other issues of concern addressed by the project.

For more information, please visit: (Spanish version) or for the English version of the project.


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