Deep convection in the Mediterranean Sea
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It is now understood that deep convection in the ocean plays a dominant role in determining the climate of the world's oceans. Recent theoretical advances in explaining oceanic convection need to be tested by real observations. Satellite observations of deep convection regions may be a promising new tool in studying this phenomenon. This thesis examines deep convection events in two ways: To assess the characteristic elements of a deep convection event using two different prediction models based upon the turbulent kinetic energy budget. To attempt to observe deep convection phenomena signals in altimeter data. In 1987, a deep convection event was observed in the northwestern Mediterranean sea (Schott and Leaman 1991). These data, combined with GEOSAT altimeter data, were used to verify the Kraus and Turner and the Naval Postgraduate School mixed layer model predictions of the time evolution of temperature, salinity and mixed layer depth. Both models predicted final values similar to the observations, but model tuning was required to reproduce the observed rapid mixed-layer deepening. The interpolated altimeter field does not allow identification with confidence of the Mediterranean convection area. However, a locally persistent feature and the mean winter sea surface topography field agree with in-situ observations and do provide some indication about where and when the convection process occurs.
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