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Brest, France

L'Hegaret P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Duarte R.,ACTIMAR | Carton X.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Vic C.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 3 more authors.
Ocean Science

The Arabian Sea and Sea of Oman circulation and water masses, subject to monsoon forcing, reveal a strong seasonal variability and intense mesoscale features. We describe and analyze this variability and these features, using both meteorological data (from ECMWF reanalyses), in situ observations (from the ARGO float program and the GDEM - Generalized Digital Environmental mode - climatology), satellite altimetry (from AVISO) and a regional simulation with a primitive equation model (HYCOM - the Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model). The model and observations display comparable variability, and the model is then used to analyze the three-dimensional structure of eddies and water masses with higher temporal and spatial resolutions than the available observations. The mesoscale features are highly seasonal, with the formation of coastal currents, destabilizing into eddies, or the radiation of Rossby waves from the Indian coast. The mesoscale eddies have a deep dynamical influence and strongly drive the water masses at depth. In particular, in the Sea of Oman, the Persian Gulf Water presents several offshore ejection sites and a complex recirculation, depending on the mesoscale eddies. The associated mechanisms range from coastal ejection via dipoles, alongshore pulses due to a cyclonic eddy, to the formation of lee eddies downstream of Ra's Al Hamra. This water mass is also captured inside the eddies via several mechanisms, keeping high thermohaline characteristics in the Arabian Sea. The variations of the outflow characteristics near the Strait of Hormuz are compared with variations downstream. © Author(s) 2015. Source

Vic C.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Berger H.,ACTIMAR | Treguier A.-M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Couvelard X.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Journal of Physical Oceanography

The Congo River has the second largest rate of flow in the world and is mainly responsible for the broad tongue of low-salinity water that is observed in the Gulf of Guinea. Despite their importance, near-equatorial river plumes have not been studied as thoroughly as midlatitude plumes and their dynamics remain unclear. Using both theory and idealized numerical experiments that reproduce the major characteristics of the region, the authors have investigated the dynamics of the Congo River plume and examine its sensitivity to different forcing mechanisms. It is found that near-equatorial plumes are more likely to be surface trapped than midlatitude plumes, and the importance of the β effect in describing the strong offshore extent of the lowsalinity tongue during most of the year is demonstrated. It is shown that the buoyant plume constrained by the geomorphology is subject to the β pulling of nonlinear structures and wavelike equatorial dynamics. The wind is found to strengthen the intrinsic buoyancy-driven dynamics and impede the development of the coastal southward current, in coherence with observations. © 2014 American Meteorological Society. Source

Berger H.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Treguier A.M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Perenne N.,ACTIMAR | Talandier C.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Climate Dynamics

In this study, we analyse the seasonal variability of the sea surface salinity (SSS) for two coastal regions of the Gulf of Guinea from 1995 to 2006 using a high resolution model (1/12°) embedded in a Tropical Atlantic (1/4°) model. Compared with observations and climatologies, our model demonstrates a good capability to reproduce the seasonal and spatial variations of the SSS and mixed layer depth. Sensitivity experiments are carried out to assess the respective impacts of precipitations and river discharge on the spatial structure and seasonal variations of the SSS in the eastern part of the Gulf of Guinea. In the Bight of Biafra, both precipitations and river runoffs are necessary to observe permanent low SSS values but the river discharge has the strongest impact on the seasonal variations of the SSS. South of the equator, the Congo river discharge alone is sufficient to explain most of the SSS structure and its seasonal variability. However, mixed layer budgets for salinity reveal the necessity to take into account the horizontal and vertical dynamics to explain the seasonal evolution of the salinity in the mixed layer. Indeed evaporation, precipitations and runoffs represent a relatively small contribution to the budgets locally at intraseasonal to seasonal time scales. Horizontal advection always contribute to spread the low salinity coastal waters offshore and thus decrease the salinity in the eastern Gulf of Guinea. For the Bight of Biafra and the Congo plume region, the strong seasonal increase of the SSS observed from May/June to August/September, when the trade winds intensify, results from a decreasing offshore spread of freshwater associated with an intensification of the salt input from the subsurface. In the Congo plume region, the subsurface salt comes mainly from advection due to a strong upwelling but for the Bight of Biafra, entrainment and vertical mixing also play a role. The seasonal evolution of horizontal advection in the Bight of Biafra is mainly driven by eddy correlations between salinity and velocities, but it is not the case in the Congo plume. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Fontaine E.,French Institute of Petroleum | Orsero P.,University Technologique Of Compiegne | Ledoux A.,ZI Athelia I Voie Ariane | Nerzic R.,ACTIMAR | And 2 more authors.
Structural Safety

The present study is an attempt to re-assess the level of reliability of the mooring system of an existing Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit in West Africa. The study made use of field data for the environment including wind, waves and current together with simultaneous measurements of the FPSO offset and of the mooring line tensions. Three different approaches to predict the extreme response are compared. More specifically, the traditional design method is compared with Response Based Design (RBD) and First Order Reliability Method (FORM) analysis associated with Response Surface Models (RSM) of the moored FPSO. The results of this case study allow assessing the level of conservatism that is currently embedded in classical design rules. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Carton X.,LPO UBO | Poulin F.J.,University of Waterloo | Pavec M.,ACTIMAR
Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics

The linear baroclinic and parametric instabilities of boundary currents with piecewise-constant potential vorticity are studied in a two-layer quasi-geostrophic model. The growth rates of both the exponential modes and of the optimal perturbations are calculated for the baroclinic instability of steady coastal currents. We show that the growth rates of the exponential modes are maximal for a vertically symmetric flow. Furthermore, the vertical asymmetries induced by different layer thicknesses, the presence of a barotropic potential vorticity or bottom topography, all act to dampen the growth rates and favor growth at shorter wavelengths. It is shown that this behavior can be predicted from the conditions for vertical resonance of Rossby waves on the two potential vorticity fronts. Also, the baroclinic instability of the optimal perturbations has larger growth rates at shorter wavelengths and shorter time scales. As well, the presence of a sloping bottom of moderate amplitude favors the growth of these optimal perturbations. Finally, we compute the growth rates of parametric instability of oscillatory coastal flows. We show that subharmonic resonance is the most unstable mode of growth. In addition, a second region of parametric instability is found (for the first time) away from marginality of exponential-mode baroclinic instability. It is shown that the functional dependency of the growth rates of parametric instability, for optimal excitation, are similar to that of the optimal perturbations of baroclinic instability. To explain this a mechanism for parametric instability, involving the rapid growth of short-wave optimal perturbations, is proposed. © 2011 Taylor & Francis. Source

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