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Untangling the mistral and seasonal atmospheric forcing driving deep convection in the Gulf of Lion: 2012-2013

Abstract : Deep convection in the Gulf of Lion is believed to be primarily driven by the mistral winds. However, our findings show that the seasonal atmospheric change provides roughly two-thirds of the buoyancy loss required for deep convection to occur for the year 2012 to 2013, with the mistral supplying the final third. Two NEMOMED12 ocean simulations of the Mediterranean Sea were run from 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013, forced with two sets of atmospheric-forcing data from a RegIPSL coupled run within the Med-CORDEX framework. One set of atmospheric-forcing data was left unmodified, while the other was filtered to remove the signal of the mistral. The control simulation featured deep convection, while the seasonal simulation did not. A simple model was derived by relating the anomaly scale forcing (the difference between the control and seasonal runs) and the seasonal scale forcing to the ocean response through the stratification index. This simple model revealed that the mistral's effect on buoyancy loss depends more on its strength rather than its frequency or duration. The simple model also revealed that the seasonal cycle of the stratification index is equal to the net surface heat flux over the course of the year, with the stratification maximum and minimum occurring roughly at the fall and spring equinoxes.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 22, 2022 - 8:34:54 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 3, 2022 - 3:59:49 AM

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Douglas Keller, Yonatan Givon, Romain Pennel, Shira Raveh-Rubin, Philippe Drobinski. Untangling the mistral and seasonal atmospheric forcing driving deep convection in the Gulf of Lion: 2012-2013. OCEAN SCIENCE, 2022, 18, pp.483-510. ⟨10.5194/os-18-483-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03726902⟩

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