Mass variation in the Mediterranean Sea from GRACE and its validation by altimetry, steric and hydrologic fields



[1] The seasonal seawater mass variation in the Mediterranean Sea is estimated between April 2002 and July 2004 from GRACE and altimetry data and from hydrologic and oceanographic models. A smoothed spatial averaging kernel is applied to each field, in order to obtain comparable basin averages. The GRACE seawater mass corrected for the leakage of continental hydrology and the filtered steric-corrected altimeter sea level have similar annual amplitude and phase. To restore the magnitude of the GRACE-derived water mass signal we apply a scaling factor to the smoothed annual amplitude. The estimated scaled mass signal has an annual amplitude of 52 ± 17 mm peaking in November. We combine the seawater mass variation with the Mediterranean freshwater deficit and obtain a net flow at the Strait of Gibraltar with annual amplitude of 60 ± 25 mm/month (0.06 Sv) and maximum in September.