Multiscale Observations of Deep Convection in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea During Winter 2012-2013 Using Multiple Platforms

Pierre Testor, Anthony Bosse, Loic Houpert, Félix Margirier, Laurent Mortier, Hervé Legoff, Denis Dausse, Matthieu Labaste, Johannes Karstensen, Daniel Hayes, Antonio Olita, Alberto Ribotti, Katrin Schroeder, Jacopo Chiggiato, Reiner Onken, Emma Heslop, Baptiste Mourre, Fabrizio D'ortenzio, Nicolas Mayot, Héloise LavigneOrens De Fommervault, Laurent Coppola, Louis Prieur, Vincent Taillandier, Xavier Durrieu De Madron, Francois Bourrin, Gael Many, Pierre Damien, Claude Estournel, Patrick Marsaleix, Isabelle Taupier-Letage, Patrick Raimbault, Robin Waldman, Marie-noelle Bouin, Hervé Giordani, Guy Caniaux, Samuel Somot, Véronique Ducrocq, Pascal Conan

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During winter 2012-2013, open-ocean deep convection which is a major driver for the thermohaline circulation and ventilation of the ocean, occurred in the Gulf of Lions (Northwestern Mediterranean Sea) and has been thoroughly documented thanks in particular to the deployment of several gliders, Argo profiling floats, several dedicated ship cruises, and a mooring array during a period of about a year. Thanks to these intense observational efforts, we show that deep convection reached the bottom in winter early in February 2013 in a area of maximum 28±3 109m9. We present new quantitative results with estimates of heat and salt content at the sub-basin scale at different time scales (on the seasonal scale to a ten days basis) through optimal interpolation techniques, and robust estimates of the deep water formation rate of 2.0 ± 0.2Sν. We provide an overview of the spatio-temporal coverage that has been reached throughout the seasons this year and we highlight some results based on data analysis and numerical modeling that are presented in this special issue. They concern key circulation features for the deep convection and the subsequent bloom such as Submesoscale Coherent Vortices (SCVs), the plumes and symmetric instability at the edge of the deep convection area.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages89
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Early online date14 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2018


  • Ocean Observation
  • oceanic deep convection
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • energy and buoyancy fluxes
  • eddies
  • plumes
  • symmetric instability


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