Mediterranean currents

Image of the month - September 2006

Mean Dynamic Topography 1993-1999 (sea surface topography due to mean ocean circulation), computed from altimetric, in situ and Grace gravimetry satellite data (see Image of the Month,  February 2003, Ocean currents), top, and the circulation that can be deduced from this mean circulation and from altimetry data over the 1993-2004 period. General circulation, area of instability or the eddies induced by wind (like the Ierapetra's gyre, see Image of the Month, June 1999, An eddy blown by the wind) (Credits CLS/Pujol, 2006)


For (at least) three thousand years that human being have been sailing its waters, one could have thought the circulation of the Mediterranean Sea one of the best-known. In fact, this circulation is nowadays in discussion, with altimetry participating with its own vision, and showing a circulation locally different from the one other techniques show. Each of the ocean observing technique observes different parameters, with thus a complementary point of view from the others. The objective stay the same for all: a better understanding, and thus, among other things a better modelization, of the Mediterranean

See also:

Websites on this subject:

  • MFS project: Mediterranean Forecasting System


  • Millot C., Taupier-Letage I., 2004, "Circulation in the Mediterranean Sea", The Handbook of Environnemental Chemestry (The Natural Environment and the Biogical Cycles), Springer-Verlag Editor.
  • Pinardi N., Arneri E., Crise A., Ravaioli M., Zavatarelli M., 2004 The physical and ecological structure and variability of shelf areas in the Mediterranean Sea, The Sea , Vol. 14, Chapter 32.
  • Pujol M.-I., 2006, "Analyse de la variabilité de surface en Méditerranée à partir des données altimétriques et comparaison aux simulations MERCATOR et MOG2D", These de l'Universite Paul Sabatier, Toulouse III.
  • Robinson A., Malanotte-Rizzoli P., Hecht A., Michelato A., Roether W:, Theocharis A:, Unluata U., Pinardi N. and the POEM Group 1992 General Circulation of the Eastern Mediterranean. Earth Sciences Reviews, pp. 285-309.