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Hydraulic criticality of the exchange flow through the strait of Gibraltar

TitleHydraulic criticality of the exchange flow through the strait of Gibraltar
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSannino, Gianmaria, Carillo Adriana, and Pratt L.
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
KeywordsActive Layer, Alboran sea, Atlantic Ocean, Channel variations, Critical condition, entrainment, Exchange flow, flow modeling, Gulf of Cadiz, High resolution, Hydraulic analysis, Hydraulic models, Hydraulic structures, hydraulics, Layer thickness, Mediterranean Sea, Mixing, Numerical methods, numerical model, Numerical models, Open boundaries, Orthogonal grid, Simulated behaviors, Strait of Gibraltar, stratification, Three dimensional, three-dimensional modeling, Three-dimensional numerical models, Three-layer, Three-layer systems, Tidal elevations, Tidal exchange, transition zone, Transition zones, Two-layer systems, Vertical stratification

The hydraulic state of the exchange circulation through the Strait of Gibraltar is defined using a recently developed critical condition that accounts for cross-channel variations in layer thickness and velocity, applied to the output of a high-resolution three-dimensional numerical model simulating the tidal exchange. The numerical model uses a coastal-following curvilinear orthogonal grid, which includes, in addition to the Strait of Gibraltar, the Gulf of Cadiz and the Alboran Sea. The model is forced at the open boundaries through the specification of the surface tidal elevation that is characterized by the two principal semidiurnal and two diurnal harmonics: M2, S2, O1, and K1. The simulation covers an entire tropical month. The hydraulic analysis is carried out approximating the continuous vertical stratification first as a two-layer system and then as a three-layer system. In the latter, the transition zone, generated by entrainment and mixing between the Atlantic and Mediterranean flows, is considered as an active layer in the hydraulic model. As result of these vertical approximations, two different hydraulic states have been found; however, the simulated behavior of the flow only supports the hydraulic state predicted by the three-layer case. Thus, analyzing the results obtained by means of the three-layer hydraulic model, the authors have found that the flow in the strait reaches maximal exchange about 76% of the tropical monthlong period. © 2009 American Meteorological Society.


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Citation KeySannino20092779