Transport estimates in the Strait of Gibraltar with a tidal inverse model

B. Baschek, U. Send, J.G. Lafuente, and J. Candela

Journal of Geophysical Reserach - Oceans 106 (C12), pp. 31033-31044, Dec 15 2001.

To estimate the volume transport through the Strait of Gibraltar and to study the spatial structure of the time-variable flow, a varying number of current meter moorings were maintained at the eastern entrance of the strait between October 1994 and April 1998, and was complemented with intensive shipboard measurements during the European Union project Canary Island Azores Gibraltar Experiment (CANIGO). A tidal inverse model is used to merge these data sets in order to investigate the flow at the eastern entrance of the strait. The two-dimensional structure of the tidal flow was described by simple analytical functions. Harmonics with the seven most important tidal frequencies were used as temporal functions. With this model, the tidal currents can be predicted for any time and location at the eastern entrance of the strait, and more than 92% of the variance of the lower layer flow is explained. It was used to remove the tidal currents from the individual measurements and to calculate the mean flow through the strait from the residuals. Combined with a similar inverse model for determining the depth of the interface between Mediterranean and Atlantic water, the volume transport was estimated to be 0.81 +/- 0.07 Sv for the upper layer and -0.76 +/- 0.07 Sv for the lower layer. The correlation of the tidal currents and the fluctuations of the interface accounts for similar to7% of the transport at the eastern entrance.