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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 Sep 2018

Research article | 13 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Ocean signature of intense wind events in the Western Mediterranean Sea

Francesco Ragone1,2, Andrea Meli1, Anna Napoli1, and Claudia Pasquero1 Francesco Ragone et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy
  • 2Laboratoire de Physique, ENS-Lyon, Lyon, France

Abstract. The Western Mediterranean Sea is often subject to intense winds, especially during the winter season. The effects of the enhanced enthalpy and momentum fluxes on the upper ocean is investigated using sea surface temperature and sea surface height observational data products in the period 1993–2014. The maximum surface cooling associated with the anomalous ocean heat loss, with upwelling, and with diapycnal mixing is shown to occur a couple of days after the intense wind event, to be dependent on the wind intensity and to persist for over a month during winter, when deep water is formed, and for about 10 days during summer, when the thermocline is very shallow. The sea surface height signal reaches a minimum in correspondence of the intense wind, and normal conditions recover in about six weeks. Unlike for intense winds in the tropics, associated to tropical cyclones, no long term sea surface height anomaly is observed, indicating that the water column heat content is not significantly modified.

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