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Mediterranean Sea Surface Variability during the last 15 years from altimetry

Gilles Larnicol(1)

(1) CLS, 8-10 rue Hermes, 31525 Ramonville, France


The objective of this paper is to give a review of the main learning obtained from altimetry data on the Mediterranean surface variability. First, a brief history of the altimeter Mediterranean data analysis will be proposed. It starts with the first analysis done by Larnicol et al. (1995) where the two years of Topex/Poseidon measurements (1993-1995) have firstly monitored the seasonal cycle and the mean seal level variations. Then, among other authors, Ayoub et al. (1998) has shown that the merging of several altimeters (T/P, ERS-1) is needed to correctly sample the mesoscale activity. This corresponds to the discovering period where the ability of altimetry to monitor the Mediterranean surface variability was demonstrated. Since the 2000 year, altimetry is enough mature to precisely analyse the different components of the Mediterranean variability as steric effect, mean sea level variation, mesoscale, seasonal and interannual signals. An overview of the main results obtained will be proposed starting with the analysis of the impact of the different satellite configurations (Pascual et al. 2005), and the advent of the mean dynamic topography for the Mediterranean sea that allows us to analyse the absolute altimetric signal. The identification of the main components of the circulation will be also analysed in term of their sporadic, recurrent or permanent state as well as the analysis of the main seasonal, interannual and decadal signals (Pujol and Larnicol, 2005). All these results will be confronted with the state of the art of the knowledge given through modelling and data analysis from other kind of data as sea surface temperature and in-situ measurements



                 Last modified: 07.10.03