The Balearic Sea is a key transition area of the western Mediterranean, bounded to the west by the Iberian Peninsula, open to the north to the Gulf of Lions, to the southeast to the Algerian Basin and connected to the south by the Ibiza and Mallorca channels with sills of the order of about 650 m and 725 m depth, respectively. The Minorca Channel is shallower than 100 m. The Balearic Sea is characterised by two well defined current regimes located over the mainland (southwestward) and islands (northeastward) slopes and by intense mesoscale and sub-mesoscale activity. Eddies and filaments interact with the mean fields, producing blocking effects, current reversals, convergences and divergences that give rise to significant biogeochemical signals. Hence, high resolution eddy resolving dynamics is strongly needed to reproduce mesoscale dynamics and their interaction with the so called mean basin scale circulation. The Balearic Sea is therefore a key sub-basin to understand one of the fundamental questions in the Mediterranean, the adjustment between Modified Atlantic and Mediterranean Waters and the related basin scale north-south exchanges. The prognostic Harvard Ocean Prediction System (HOPS) model has been set up for the Balearic Sea at high horizontal (1 km) and vertical resolution. To prevent contamination of the dynamics in the interior of the model domain from the open boundaries, the HOPS domain is one-way nested into the MFS (Mediterranean Forecasting System) basin-scale Mediterranean system (Pinardi et al., 2003) and is also driven by HIRLAM INM atmospheric forcings (every 3 hours) at 7 km resolution with a forecast range of 72 hours.
Balearic Sea: 0.44 E-04.79 E; 38.34º N-40.36º N
HOPS (Primitive Equations)
Daily 72 h forecasts 3 hours
Horizontal grid size: 1 Km
- 20 vertical levels - Rigid lid surface - Terrain-following sigma coordinates
Atmospheric forcing of momentum and surface fluxes of heat and water were provided by the Spanish National Institute of Meteorology in terms of six-hourly fields of the High Resolution Limited Area Model (HIRLAM, cf. http://hirlam.knmi.nl). While the horizontal resolution of the heat and water fluxes is 0.5°, 10-m winds are resolved higher at 0.2°.
Lateral forcing data from MFS. One-way nesting
Vertical diffusion is formulated in terms of a Richardson-number dependent scheme similar to that of Pacanowski and Philander (1981),
No tidal forcing
CTD data Gliders (quasi-real time) Buoys mooring data