A review of the Levantine Basin circulation and its variability during 1985-1988

E. Özsoy, A. Hecht, Ü Ünlüata, S. Brenner, T. Oǧuz, J. Bishop, M. A. Latif, Z. Rozentraub

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The variability of the Levantine Basin circulation and hydrography is reviewed based on a collection of recent data sets. The major emphasis is placed on the complexity of the associated dynamics. The region is shown to be populated with synoptic and mesoscale dynamic features. In addition to the complexity arising due to the heterogeneity of water masses and the variability of the atmospheric and thermohaline forcing, the confines of the relatively small basin causes the sub-basin-scale gyres to be in close contact with each other, resulting in interacting, basin-wide turbulent features. The bifurcation of the mid-Levantine jet near Cyprus is variable on interannual time-scales, the amount of bifurcation of the fluxes being dependent on the evolution of the circulation in the multi-connected domain and the relative intensities of the sub-basin-scale gyres. During the 3-year observation programme, qualitative changes are identified in the general circulation. The flow encircling Cyprus is partially blocked in the first phase of the experiments. Later, the two basins on the north and east sides of Cyprus are flushed with new water masses carried in the cores of incident eddies, and a new pattern of basin-wide circulation is established, with a major part of the mid-basin jet flowing coherently along the mainland coasts and cyclonically around Cyprus. As a consequence, the general circulation of the Levantine Basin appears considerably different and more complex than the traditional descriptions of it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-456
Number of pages36
JournalDynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans
Issue number3-5
StatePublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes


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