Modification of Mediterranean Water in the Gulf of Cadiz, studied with hydrographic, nutrient and chlorofluoromethane data

Rhein, Monika and Hinrichsen, Hans-Harald (1993) Modification of Mediterranean Water in the Gulf of Cadiz, studied with hydrographic, nutrient and chlorofluoromethane data Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 40 (2). pp. 267-291. DOI 10.1016/0967-0637(93)90004-M.

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The spreading of Mediterranean Water (MW) released through the Straits of Gibraltar is studied with hydrographic data, oxygen, nutrients and for the first time with chlorofluoromethane (CFM, compounds F11 and F12) distributions along seven sections in the Gulf of Cadiz, and with measurements in the Western Alboran Sea and west of the Gulf. The properties of MW entering the Gulf are deduced from CFM-salinity correlations east and west of the Straits as well as from property-depth profiles in the Western Alboran Sea. At the time of the survey, the outflow originated from depths above the salinity maximum of the Intermediate Water in the Alboran Sea. It turned out that the F11/F12 ratio of the outflow is equal to the ratios found in the Atlantic water in the Gulf of Cadiz; thus the ratio carries no time information in the region.

A model is developed to describe mixing of the MW undercurrent with overlying North Atlantic Central Water (NACW) from different depths. The contribution of each layer to the mixing is parameterized by a weighting factor, which has to satisfy the balances of potential temperature (θ), CFMs, oxygen and nutrients in the MW undercurrent. It is shown that entrainment of water from shallower depths into the undercurrent is important near the Iberian Continental Shelf. Farther west and south, the undercurrent mainly mixes with water from near the salinity minimum of the NACW. For regions where the undercurrent has left the bottom, additional mixing with North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) has to be taken into account. The percentage of MW in the undercurrent decreases from 76% hear the Straits to about 34% at 7°30′W for the lower core (MI) and about 22–24% for the upper core (Mu). Assuming an outflow of undiluted MW through the Straits of 1.0 Sv, the transport of the undercurrent can be calculated by determining an average dilution factor for each section. The undercurrent transports 2.0 Sv just west of the Straits and 3.6 Sv leave the Gulf of Cadiz.

At 36°N, 9°54′W, a meddy with unusually high temperatures and salinities below 500 m was found, covering the density range for both cores, Mu and Ml. From the θ−S characteristics and the evaluated mixing scheme of the meddy it appears to have formed near 7°W in the Gulf, a region up to now not proposed in the literature, and moved westward without much further mixing.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/0967-0637(93)90004-M
ISSN: 0967-0637
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2018 13:31
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2018 13:31

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