Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
Ocean Sci., 10, 281–322, 2014

Special issue: Physical, chemical and biological oceanography of the Mediterranean...

Ocean Sci., 10, 281–322, 2014
Review article
06 May 2014
Review article | 06 May 2014

Physical forcing and physical/biochemical variability of the Mediterranean Sea: a review of unresolved issues and directions for future research

P. Malanotte-Rizzoli1, V. Artale2, G. L. Borzelli-Eusebi3, S. Brenner4, A. Crise3, M. Gacic3, N. Kress6, S. Marullo2, M. Ribera d'Alcalà8, S. Sofianos11, T. Tanhua12, A. Theocharis13, M. Alvarez14, Y. Ashkenazy15, A. Bergamasco10, V. Cardin3, S. Carniel10, G. Civitarese3, F. D'Ortenzio16, J. Font5, E. Garcia-Ladona5, J. M. Garcia-Lafuente17, A. Gogou13, M. Gregoire18, D. Hainbucher19, H. Kontoyannis13, V. Kovacevic3, E. Kraskapoulou13, G. Kroskos13, A. Incarbona20, M. G. Mazzocchi8, M. Orlic21, E. Ozsoy7, A. Pascual22, P.-M. Poulain3, W. Roether9, A. Rubino23, K. Schroeder10, J. Siokou-Frangou13, E. Souvermezoglou13, M. Sprovieri24, J. Tintoré22, and G. Triantafyllou13 P. Malanotte-Rizzoli et al.
  • 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 2ENEA, Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l'energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile, Centri ricerca Frascati e Roma, Rome, Italy
  • 3Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale – OGS, Trieste, Italy
  • 4Department of Geography and Environment, Bar llan University, Ramat Gan 52900, Israel
  • 5Institut de Ciencies del Mar – CSIC, Barcelona, Spain
  • 6National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research, Haifa, Israel
  • 7Middle East Technical University, Institute of Marine Sciences, Erdemli, Turkey
  • 8Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy
  • 9University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 10CNR ISMAR, Istituto di Scienze Marine, Venice, Italy
  • 11University of Athens, Division of Environmental Physics, Ocean Physics and Modeling Group, Athens, Greece
  • 12GEOMAR Helmholz Center for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany
  • 13Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Sounio Ave., P.O. Box 712, Athens, Greece
  • 14Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia, Calle del Corazon de Maria 8, Madrid 28020, Spain
  • 15Department of Solar Energy & Environmental Physics, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
  • 16Laboratoire d'Oceanographie de Villefranche (LOV), CNRS and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 06, UMR7093, Villefraneche-sur-mer, France
  • 17Physical Oceanography Group University of Malaga, Malaga, Spain
  • 18Universite de Liege – Laboratoire d'Oceanologie – Centre MARE, Liege, Belgium
  • 19University of Hamburg – Institute of Oceanography, Hamburg, Germany
  • 20Universita di Palermo, Dipartimenti di Geologia & Geodesia, Palermo, Italy
  • 21University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science Andrija Mohoroviviv Geophysical Institute, Zagreb, Croatia
  • 22Instituto Mediterraneo de Estudio Avanzados, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Balearic Islands, Spain
  • 23Universita Ca' Forscari di Venezia, Venice, Italy
  • 24CNR IAMC, Unita Operativa di Capo Granitola, Trapani, Italy

Abstract. This paper is the outcome of a workshop held in Rome in November 2011 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the POEM (Physical Oceanography of the Eastern Mediterranean) program. In the workshop discussions, a number of unresolved issues were identified for the physical and biogeochemical properties of the Mediterranean Sea as a whole, i.e., comprising the Western and Eastern sub-basins. Over the successive two years, the related ideas were discussed among the group of scientists who participated in the workshop and who have contributed to the writing of this paper.

Three major topics were identified, each of them being the object of a section divided into a number of different sub-sections, each addressing a specific physical, chemical or biological issue:

1. Assessment of basin-wide physical/biochemical properties, of their variability and interactions.

2. Relative importance of external forcing functions (wind stress, heat/moisture fluxes, forcing through straits) vs. internal variability.

3. Shelf/deep sea interactions and exchanges of physical/biogeochemical properties and how they affect the sub-basin circulation and property distribution.

Furthermore, a number of unresolved scientific/methodological issues were also identified and are reported in each sub-section after a short discussion of the present knowledge. They represent the collegial consensus of the scientists contributing to the paper. Naturally, the unresolved issues presented here constitute the choice of the authors and therefore they may not be exhaustive and/or complete. The overall goal is to stimulate a broader interdisciplinary discussion among the scientists of the Mediterranean oceanographic community, leading to enhanced collaborative efforts and exciting future discoveries.