Articles | Volume 9, issue 4
Research article
06 Aug 2013
Research article |  | 06 Aug 2013

Transit and residence times in the Adriatic Sea surface as derived from drifter data and Lagrangian numerical simulations

P.-M. Poulain and S. Hariri

Abstract. Statistics of transit and residence times in the Adriatic Sea surface, a semi-enclosed basin of the Mediterranean, are estimated from drifter data and Lagrangian numerical simulations. The results obtained from the drifters are generally underestimated given their short operating lifetimes (half life of ∼40 days) compared to the transit and residence times. This bias can be removed by considering a large amount of numerical particles whose trajectories are integrated over a long time (750 days) with a statistical advection–dispersion model of the Adriatic surface circulation. Numerical particles indicate that the maximum transit time to exit the basin is about 216–260 days for particles released near the northern tip of the Adriatic, and that a particle entering on the eastern Otranto Channel will typically exit on the other side of the channel after 170–185 days. A duration of 150–168 days is estimated as the residence time in the Adriatic Basin.