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Geophysical Monograph 202

The Mediterranean Sea

Temporal Variability and Spatial Patterns

Gian Luca Eusebi Borzelli

Miroslav Gačić

Piero Lionello

Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli


This work is a co-publication of the American Geophysical Union and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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  1. Archean Geodynamics and Environments Keith Benn, Jean-Claude Mareschal, and Kent C. Condie (Eds.)
  2. Solar Eruptions and Energetic Particles
    Natchimuthukonar Gopalswamy, Richard Mewaldt, and Jarmo Torsti (Eds.)
  3. Back-Arc Spreading Systems: Geological, Biological, Chemical, and Physical Interactions David M. Christie, Charles Fisher, Sang-Mook Lee, and Sharon Givens (Eds.)
  4. Recurrent Magnetic Storms: Corotating Solar
    Wind Streams Bruce Tsurutani, Robert McPherron,
    Walter Gonzalez, Gang Lu, José H. A. Sobral, and
    Natchimuthukonar Gopalswamy (Eds.)
  5. Earth’s Deep Water Cycle Steven D. Jacobsen and
    Suzan van der Lee (Eds.)
  6. Magnetospheric ULF Waves: Synthesis and
    New Directions Kazue Takahashi, Peter J. Chi,
    Richard E. Denton, and Robert L. Lysak (Eds.)
  7. Earthquakes: Radiated Energy and the Physics of Faulting Rachel Abercrombie, Art McGarr, Hiroo Kanamori, and Giulio Di Toro (Eds.)
  8. Subsurface Hydrology: Data Integration for Properties and Processes David W. Hyndman, Frederick D. Day-Lewis, and Kamini Singha (Eds.)
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  11. Post-Perovskite: The Last Mantle Phase Transition Kei Hirose, John Brodholt, Thorne Lay, and David Yuen (Eds.)
  12. A Continental Plate Boundary: Tectonics at South Island, New Zealand David Okaya, Tim Stem, and Fred Davey (Eds.)
  13. Exploring Venus as a Terrestrial Planet Larry W. Esposito, Ellen R. Stofan, and Thomas E. Cravens (Eds.)
  14. Ocean Modeling in an Eddying Regime Matthew Hecht and Hiroyasu Hasumi (Eds.)
  15. Magma to Microbe: Modeling Hydrothermal Processes at Oceanic Spreading Centers Robert P. Lowell, Jeffrey S. Seewald, Anna Metaxas, and Michael R. Perfit (Eds.)
  16. Active Tectonics and Seismic Potential of Alaska Jeffrey T. Freymueller, Peter J. Haeussler, Robert L. Wesson, and Göran Ekström (Eds.)
  17. Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Observations, Projections, Mechanisms, and Implications Eric T. DeWeaver, Cecilia M. Bitz, and L.-Bruno Tremblay (Eds.)
  18. Midlatitude Ionospheric Dynamics and Disturbances Paul M. Kintner, Jr., Anthea J. Coster, Tim Fuller-Rowell, Anthony J. Mannucci, Michael Mendillo, and Roderick Heelis (Eds.)
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  20. Carbon Sequestration and Its Role in the Global Carbon Cycle Brian J. McPherson and Eric T. Sundquist (Eds.)
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This book is a tribute to our colleagues Allan Robinson and Volfango Rupolo.


Ali Aydoğdu
Institute of Marine Sciences, METU, Erdemli, Mersin, Turkey

Manuel Bensi
Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Sgonico (Trieste), Italy

Mireno Borghini
Istituto di Scienze Marine—ISMAR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Lerici (SP), Italy

Harry Bryden
National Oceanography Centre Southampton, University of Southampton, Empress Dock, Southampton, United Kingdom; Istituto di Scienze Marine—ISMAR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Venice, Italy

Vanessa Cardin
Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Sgonico (Trieste), Italy

Sotiria Georgiou
University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Isaac Gertman
Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa, Israel

Dagmar Hainbucher
Institut für Meereskunde, ZMAW, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Artur Hecht
Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa, Israel

R. Iacono
ENEA—C. R. Casaccia, Roma, Italy

Birgit Klein
Bundesanstalt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, Hamburg, Germany

Gerasimos Korres
Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, Anavyssos, Greece

George Krokos
Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, Anavyssos, Greece

Alex Lascaratos
University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Mohammed Abdul Latif
Institute of Marine Sciences, METU, Erdemli, Mersin, Turkey

L. Liberti
Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale, Rome, Italy

Anneta Mantziafou
University of Athens, Athens, Greece

S. Marullo
ENEA—C. R. Frascati, Frascati, Italy

E. Napolitano
ENEA—C. R. Casaccia, Roma, Italy

Emin Özsoy
Institute of Marine Sciences, METU, Erdemli, Mersin, Turkey

Vassilis Papadopoulos
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Patras, Greece

Ananda Pascual
IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Esporles, Mallorca, Spain

L. Pratt
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA

Wolfgang Roether
Institut für Umweltphysik, Univ. Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Angelo Rubino
Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali, Informatica e Statistica, Universita' Ca' Foscari di Venezia, Venezia, Italy

Simón Ruiz
IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Esporles, Mallorca, Spain

J. C. Sánchez-Garrido
Grupo de Oceanografía Física. Dpto. Física Aplicada II, Campus de Teatinos, University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain

Gianmaria Sannino
Climate and Impact Modeling Lab—Energy and Environment Modeling Unit—ENEA, CR Casaccia, Rome, Italy

Katrin Schroeder
Istituto di Scienze Marine—ISMAR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Venice, Italy

Sarantis Sofianos
University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Samuel Somot
MeteoFrance, Toulouse, France

Stefania Sparnocchia
Istituto di Scienze Marine—ISMAR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Trieste, Italy

Alexander Theocharis
Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, Anavyssos, Greece

Ersin Tutsak
Institute of Marine Sciences, METU, Erdemli, Mersin, Turkey

Dimitris Velaoras
Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Institute of Oceanography, Anavyssos, Greece

Anna Vetrano
Istituto di Scienze Marine—ISMAR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Lerici (SP), Italy

Enrique Vidal-Vijande
IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Esporles, Mallorca, Spain


This book covers important issues of the Mediterranean dynamics. In this relatively small body of water, fundamental ocean processes, such as surface wind forcing, buoyancy fluxes, lateral mass exchange, and deep convection, take place analogously to the world ocean, but over shorter spatial and temporal scales, simplifying the logistics necessary for monitoring. This makes the Mediterranean a laboratory for processes characterizing the global ocean and its climate.

The 1980s represent a crossroad in the study of the Mediterranean Sea. Indeed, during the second half of the 1980s, several large-scale, long-term international experiments were conducted and provided a wealth of oceanographic information. Four large international programs—the Gibraltar Experiment, the Physical Oceanography of the Eastern Mediterranean, which in 1990 evolved into the fully interdisciplinary program named POEM-Biology and Chemistry (POEM-BC), the Western Mediterranean Circulation Experiment, and PRIMO—defined the major characteristics of the Mediterranean Sea. The picture of the Mediterranean variability emerging from this fieldwork was complex and showed that multiple interacting time and spatial scales (basin, subbasin, and mesoscale), representing a wide variety of physical processes, characterize the Mediterranean dynamics.

The aforementioned programs ended by the second half of the 1990s. Since then, although valuable studies were carried out, uncoordinated research efforts, driven mainly by national interests, provided fragmented and sporadic results.

To establish the state of the art of the research in the Mediterranean and allow interested scientists to interact, the Space Academy Foundation, a nonprofit organization to promote space-science, and technology, CIESM, and the OGS (Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale), under the aegis of the Alta Presidenza della Repubblica Italiana, organized a fully interdisciplinary meeting, which was held in Rome on 7–8 November 2011 at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. This book is the outcome of this effort and it is meant to be an important and original contribution to the knowledge of the phenomena that regulate the oceanography of the Mediterranean Sea.

Gian Luca Eusebi Borzelli, CERSE (Center for Remote Sensing of the Earth), Rome, Italy;
OGS (Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimenta), Italy

Miroslav Gačić, National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics, Italy

Piero Lionello, University of Salento, Italy

Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA