Articles | Volume 14, issue 4
Ocean Sci., 14, 563–573, 2018
Ocean Sci., 14, 563–573, 2018

Research article 02 Jul 2018

Research article | 02 Jul 2018

Mixed layer depth variability in the Red Sea

Cheriyeri P. Abdulla1, Mohammed A. Alsaafani1,2, Turki M. Alraddadi1, and Alaa M. Albarakati1 Cheriyeri P. Abdulla et al.
  • 1Department of Marine Physics, Faculty of Marine Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • 2Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Sana'a University, Yemen

Abstract. For the first time, a monthly climatology of mixed layer depth (MLD) in the Red Sea has been derived based on temperature profiles. The general pattern of MLD variability is clearly visible in the Red Sea, with deep MLDs during winter and shallow MLDs during summer. Transitional MLDs have been found during the spring and fall. The northern end of the Red Sea experienced deeper mixing and a higher MLD associated with the winter cooling of the high-saline surface waters. Further, the region north of 19° N experienced deep mixed layers, regardless of the season. Wind stress plays a major role in the MLD variability of the southern Red Sea, while net heat flux and evaporation are the dominating factors in the central and northern Red Sea regions. Ocean eddies and Tokar Gap winds significantly alter the MLD structure in the Red Sea. The dynamics associated with the Tokar Gap winds leads to a difference of more than 20 m in the average MLD between the north and south of the Tokar axis.

Short summary
For the first time in the Red Sea, a monthly climatology of mixed layer depth (MLD) has been derived based on in situ temperature profiles. The Red Sea MLD pattern displays significant spatial and temporal variability with exceptional features. The MLD variability is dominantly driven by wind stress in the southern part, while heat exchange plays a major role in the remaining parts. The eddies and the Tokar Gap summer jet winds are significantly changing the MLD of the localized regions.