The sea surface temperature field in the Eastern Mediterranean from advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) data: Part I. Seasonal variability

S. Marullo, R. Santoleri, P. Malanotte-Rizzoli, A. Bergamasco

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A ten-year dataset of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer-Sea Surface Temperature (AVHRR-SST) with 18-km space resolution and weekly frequency is used to study the seasonal variability of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea surface field. Three main objectives are addressed in this study. The first is to define the time and space scales of the surface temperature distributions. The second objective is to relate the SST features to the upper thermocline circulation and the third is to compare these features with the observational evidence of the Physical Oceanography of the Eastern Mediterranean (POEM) Programme. The time analysis reveals the presence of a strong seasonal signal characterized by two main seasonal extremes, winter and summer. The transition between the overall zonal distribution of the isotherms (winter) and the mostly meridional pattern of the fronts (summer) occurs very rapidly in May and October. The space analysis shows that the dominant scale is the sub-basin scale and the sub-basin gyres are very well resolved allowing the identification of permanent and semipermanent structures. The results for the two further objectives can be summarized together. The seasonal and monthly SST distributions are strongly correlated with the dynamical structure of the basin upper thermocline circulation. A direct comparison of the September 1987 SST pattern with the corresponding surface temperature map of the POEM-87 survey proves this correlation quantitatively. Furthermore, comparison of the SST monthly climatologies with the POEM circulation scheme shows that all the major currents and the sub-basin gyres are also found consistently in our patterns, with the only exception of the anticyclonic Mersa-Matruh Gyre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63 - 81
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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