Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Breath of the ocean

Have a look to this surface temperature animation from Mercator Ocean new hourly frequency model. This incredibly figures out two cycles : tide movement in the Atlantic Ocean and the diurnal cycle. This animation represents the sea surface temperature with a 2km grid ocean model during the two weeks (spring 2010).

From MercatorOcean (MyOcean project)

Gibraltar Strait is of major importance, oceanographically, strategically...
There colder Atlantic Ocean waters enter the warmer Mediterranean Sea. Sea Surface Temperature shows all the wealth of marine features that can be seen in this area.

The "entry" to the Mediterranean is the Gibraltar Strait.
There, cold water Atlantic waters enter the warmer Mediterranean Sea.
Depending on the season, in the Alboran Sea just East of Gibraltar, one or two gyre(s) (semi-permanent eddies) can be seen; in Summer, a warm (anticyclonic) one at the very beginning of the Alboran Sea, and another one just after, also anticyclonic but slightly less warm.
Further East, there is a zone of intense activity along the Algerian coast.
Eddies and meanders in the Algerian Current are among the most turbulent features of the Mediterranean-but some are more stable.

The Sea Surface Temperature is one of the important physical quantities proposed by
MyOcean, from observations as well as from models.
It is sensitive to the difference between night and day (the Sun warming the upper layer of the ocean). With an hourly frequency, the pulse of those daily variations can be seen.

The Sea Surface Temperature is of foremost use in meteorology and climate forecasts (e.g. the Mediterranean Coast of France know every beginning of Autumn heavy rainfalls linked to the Sea temperature; seasonal forecasts won't be possible without ocean temperature...).
Life in the water is also driven by temperature, with phytoplankton more abundant where the temperature is low, etc.

Ever since ancient times, the Mediterranean Sea has occupied a vital place in the lives of the peoples on its shores.
It is also a sea of mystery.
According to the myths of Ulysses and Jason, the Greeks' voyages of adventure took them to the four corners of the Mediterranean, from the Pillars of Hercules in the west (Gibraltar) to Hellespont in the east (Dardanelles).
In later years the Mediterranean linked the various parts of the vast Roman Empire.
Indeed, such was the Romans' dominance on all sides of the Mediterranean basin that they called it "our sea" (
Mare Nostrum).
And it was here that Orient met Occident as Islam and Christianity fought to wrest this strategic prize from each other's grasp.
Today, it is one of the world's main commercial routes.
Oceanography programs have been set up to study its movements and its fragile ecosystem.
These programs rely on satellite and in situ observations, and on ocean models, merging a wealth data to piece together the Mediterranean puzzle.

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