Received: 11 May 2011 – Discussion started: 14 Jun 2011
Abstract. This paper analyses the Eastern Mediterranean water and heat balances over a 52-yr period. The modelling uses a process-oriented approach resolving the one-dimensional equations of momentum, heat, and salt conservation, with turbulence modelled using a two-equation model. The exchange through the Sicily Channel connecting the Eastern and Western basins is calculated from satellite altimeter data. The results illustrates that calculated surface temperature and salinity follow the reanalysed data well and with biases of −0.4 °C and −0.004, respectively. Monthly and yearly temperature and salinity cycles are also satisfactory simulated. Reanalysed data and calculated water mass structure and heat balance components are in good agreement, indicating that the air-sea interaction and the turbulent mixing are realistically simulated. The study illustrates that the water balance in the Eastern Mediterranean basin is controlled by the difference between inflows/outflows through the Sicily Channel and by the net precipitation rates. The heat balance is controlled by the heat loss from the water surface, sun radiation into the sea, and heat flow through the Sicily Channel, the first two displaying both climate trends. An annual net heat loss of approximately 9 W m−2 was balanced by net heat in flow through the Sicily Channel.
How to cite. Shaltout, M. and Omstedt, A.: Calculating the water and heat balances of the Eastern Mediterranean basin using ocean modelling and available meteorological, hydrological, and ocean data, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 8, 1301–1338, https://doi.org/10.5194/osd-8-1301-2011, 2011.