Geophysical Research Letters

Dense shelf water cascading in the northwestern Mediterranean during the cold winter 2005: Quantification of the export through the Gulf of Lion and the Catalan margin



[1] Dense shelf water cascading in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea during winter 2005, which was shown to cause large erosion in the canyons and to influence deep benthic ecosystem, was investigated using numerical modeling validated with temperature and current observations. Intense dense water formation took place on the Gulf of Lion and Catalan shelves. Dense shelf water was transferred to the deep basin through three pathways. The Cap de Creus canyon in the western Gulf of Lion already identified as a huge pathway was shown to export about 1000 km3 of dense water during two months. The Palamós and Blanes canyons located on the Catalan margin were shown to be important pathways for water formed locally and for water transiting from the Gulf of Lion. After the cascading period, dense shelf water was transported mostly toward the Balearic Sea.