Sound speed in the Mediterranean Sea: An analysis from a climatological data set

S. Salon, A. Crise, P. Picco, E. de Marinis, O. Gasparini

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an analysis of sound speed distribution in the Mediterranean Sea based on climatological temperature and salinity data. In the upper layers, propagation is characterised by upward refraction in winter and an acoustic channel in summer. The seasonal cycle of the Mediterranean and the presence of gyres and fronts create a wide range of spatial and temporal variabilities, with relevant differences between the western and eastern basins. It is shown that the analysis of a climatological data set can help in defining regions suitable for successful monitoring by means of acoustic tomography. Empirical Orthogonal Functions (EOF) decomposition on the profiles, performed on the seasonal cycle for some selected areas, demonstrates that two modes account for more than 98% of the variability of the climatological distribution. Reduced order EOF analysis is able to correctly represent sound speed profiles within each zone, thus providing the a priori knowledge for Matched Field Tomography. It is also demonstrated that salinity can affect the tomographic inversion, creating a higher degree of complexity than in the open oceans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833 - 846
Number of pages14
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Salon, S., Crise, A., Picco, P., de Marinis, E., & Gasparini, O. (2003). Sound speed in the Mediterranean Sea: An analysis from a climatological data set. Annales Geophysicae, 21(3), 833 - 846.