PUMA
Istituto di Studi sui Sistemi Intelligenti per l'Automazione     
Sparnocchia S., Pensieri S., Bozzano R., Picco P., Schiano M. E. The Ligurian Sea Observing System: a laboratory for climatic and air-sea interaction studies in the northwestern Mediterranean. In: IUGG XXIV General Assembly (Perugia, Italy, 2-13 July 2007). Abstract, pp. 1 - 1. IAPSO - International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, 2007.
 
 
Abstract
(English)
Given its role in the climate and circulation of the Mediterranean region, the Ligurian-Provencal basin has been the object of intense scientific investigation since the sixties. During winter, dense water formation takes place in the area and intense air-sea interaction greatly affects both the atmospheric and the marine circulation, determining a strong variability in the upper ocean thermocline. Biological productivity is very high and the ecosystem is very rich and complex. All these aspects make this area an interesting research site for oceanographers, physicists, and biologists. Studying such a complex zone, and particularly the intense air-sea interaction occurring there, requires dedicated observing systems as well as the development of specific parameterizations for the processes involved. Here, we present our observing system in the Ligurian Sea, an important instrument to obtain a complete picture of the many phenomena related to both marine circulation and climate evolution there. The system actually consists of two meteo-oceanographic buoys, one coastal and the other offshore. Since the offshore buoy is instrumented to monitor the surface layer up to a depth of 40 m, a submarine mooring line completes the system, giving information on the ocean interior. The need for this type of observing system is evidenced by the important results that will be presented here. Meteorological measurements from the offshore buoy have been used for validating ECMWF calculations by comparing them against the model reanalysis data. The results of the comparison show that the modelled daily and seasonal values are not suitable for the Ligurian basin. Specifically, the model is subject to an underestimation of high winds and an overestimation of light winds. The long and continuous time series of data from the offshore buoy also sustain the use of the surface water vapour as a climate indicator. Furthermore, the contemporaneous data from both the coastal and the offshore buoys were fundamental in studying the anomalous warming of the Ligurian Sea caused by the heat wave of summer 2003. The data, in fact, show that the event was confined to within a few meters below the surface as a consequence of prolonged periods of calm or light winds that summer. Finally, we will present the results of an ongoing study on the variability of the upper layer currents and its relationship with the atmospheric forcing, involving the simultaneous analysis of data from the offshore buoy and the current data obtained from the instrumentation on the mooring line.
Subject Ocean observatory
ocean interior
air-sea interaction
marine technology


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