Current Regime of the MALTESE Oceanic Frontal Zone
NAVAL UNDERWATER SYSTEMS CENTER NEW LONDON CT
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The Maltese oceanic frontal zone lies due east of Malta in the Mediterranean in the region surrounding 36 degrees N, 17 degrees E. The report presents an analysis of 48 expendable bathythermograph XBT traces from the Maltese frontal zone taken between 18 and 24 November 1971 IOMED 71. Surface water moving eastward through the Africa-Malta straits and warmed to more than 20.0C formed a distinct water mass above the thermocline in the study area. Mixing of this water with Ionian Surface Water formed complex frontal zones. These zones were collectively identified as the Maltese oceanic frontal zone, which was easily traced with thermal probes. The density of this surface water was increased by evaporation and by colling in the Levantine Basin east of the study area, whereupon this water sank to an equal density level below the thermocline. This Levantine Intermediate Water LIW then flowed westward through the study area in the form of large masses of 14.5C water, between 60 and 850 m, toward an eventual outlet in the Malta-Sicily straits.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography