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Physical oceanography of the western Iberia ecosystem: latest views and challenges.

By P. Relvas, E. D. Barton, J. Dubert, P. B. Oliveira, A. Peliz, J. C. B. Da Silva and A. M. P. Santos


The present review is focused on the mesoscale physical processes recognized in the Western Iberia Ecosystem, complementing earlier reviews dedicated to larger scales. Recent studies support the idea that the mesoscale processes, superimposed on the larger scale variability, are the major factor controlling the ecosystem functioning in the region. A complex structure of interleaved alongshore slope, shelf and coastal currents that interact with eddies, buoyant plumes, upwelling filaments and fronts, surface layer expressions of the subsurface circulation and internal waves is revealed by the latest research. All of these contribute in different ways to have an effect on the ecosystem. The supposedly less variable winter circulation also exhibits significant mesoscale activity, in the form of eddy shedding from the poleward slope current, intermittent upwelling events and transient nearshore poleward flows. The present incomplete knowledge of this complex system presents a number of challenges and questions that must be addressed if we are to arrive at a satisfactory understanding and predictive capability for the system as a whole

Publisher: ELSEVIER Ltd.
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.pocean.2007.04.021
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