Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Circulation over a submarine canyon in the NW Mediterranean



[1] The circulation in Blanes canyon, an interruption in the NW Mediterranean continental shelf north of Barcelona, was investigated. The study employs data from oceanographic surveys carried out in the summer and fall of 2003. Velocity data show that in the vicinity of the shelf break the flow is deflected along the canyon walls. A cyclonic mean flow can be seen over the canyon mouth owing to vortex stretching of fluid parcels advected across the shelf break. Field observations are in qualitative agreement with fundamental fluid dynamic considerations based on potential vorticity conservation and friction effects at lateral boundaries. Evidence is given that upwelling is found near the shelf break inside the canyon in the two field experiments. This upwelling extends vertically from the seasonal thermocline (at about 100 m) to the shelf-slope front (at about 200 m). There is no evidence that upwelled water can reach the continental shelf.