Regional marine climate scenarios in the NE Atlantic sector close to the Spanish shores


  • Damià Gomis IMEDEA (Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Univ. de les Illes Balears - CSIC)
  • Enrique Álvarez-Fanjul Ente Público Puertos del Estado
  • Gabriel Jordà IMEDEA (Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Univ. de les Illes Balears - CSIC)
  • Marta Marcos IMEDEA (Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Univ. de les Illes Balears - CSIC)
  • Roland Aznar Ente Público Puertos del Estado
  • Ernesto Rodríguez-Camino Agencia Estatal de Meteorología
  • Juan Carlos Sánchez-Perrino Agencia Estatal de Meteorología
  • José María Rodríguez-González Agencia Estatal de Meteorología
  • Adrián Martínez-Asensio IMEDEA (Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Univ. de les Illes Balears - CSIC)
  • Josep Llasses IMEDEA (Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats, Univ. de les Illes Balears - CSIC)
  • Begoña Pérez Ente Público Puertos del Estado
  • Marcos G. Sotillo Ente Público Puertos del Estado



climate change, surface temperature, surface salinity, sea level, waves


We present an overview of the changes expected during the 21st century in key marine parameters (sea surface temperature, sea surface salinity, sea level and waves) in the sector of the NE Atlantic Ocean close to the Spanish shores. Under the A1B scenario, open-sea surface temperatures would increase by 1°C to 1.5°C by 2050 as a consequence of global ocean warming. Near the continental margin, however, the global temperature rise would be counteracted by an enhancement of the seasonal upwelling. Sea surface salinity is likely to decrease in the future, mainly due to the advection of high-latitude fresher waters from ice melting. Mean sea level rise has been quantified as 15-20 cm by 2050, but two contributions not accounted for by our models must be added: the mass redistribution derived from changes in the large-scale circulation (which in the NE Atlantic may be as large as 15 cm in 2050 or 35 cm by 2100) and the increase in the ocean mass content due to the melting of continental ice (for which estimates are still uncertain). The meteorological tide shows very small changes, and therefore extreme sea levels would be higher in the 21st century, but mostly due to the increase in mean sea level, not to an increase in the storminess. The wave projections point towards slightly smaller significant wave heights, but the changes projected are of the same order as the natural variability.


Download data is not yet available.


Adloff F., Somot S., Sevault F., et al. 2015. Mediterranean Sea response to climate change in an ensemble of twenty first century scenarios. Clim. Dyn. 45 (9): 2775-2802

Álvarez I., Gomez-Gesteira M., De Castro M., et al. 2008. Spatio-temporal evolution of upwelling regime along the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula. J. Geophys. Res. 113: C07020.

Álvarez-Fanjul E., Pérez B., Rodríguez I. 2001. NIVMAR: A storm-surge forecasting system for Spanish waters. Sci. Mar. 60: 145-154.

Alves J.M.R., Miranda P.M.A. 2013. Variability of Iberian upwelling implied by ERA-40 and ERA-Interim reanalyses. Tellus A. 65: 19245.

Backhaus J.O. 1985. A Three-Dimensional model for simulation of shelf sea dynamics. Dt. Hydrogr. Z. 38: 164-187.

Bamber J.L., Aspinall W.P. 2013. An expert judgement assessment of future sea level rise from the ice sheets. Nature Clim. Change 3: 424-427.

Barnier B. 1998. Forcing the ocean, in ocean modeling and parameterisation. In: Chassignet E.P., Verron J. (eds), NATO Sciences Series, vol. 516. Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 45-80.

Bopp L., Resplandy L., Orr J.C., et al. 2013. Multiple stressors of ocean ecosystems in the 21st century: projections with CMIP5 models. Biogeosci. 10: 6225-6245.

Bourdallé R., Treguier A.M. 2006. A climatology of run-off for the global ocean-ice model ORCA025. Mercator-Ocean reference: MOO-RP-425-365-MER, August 2006.

Boutov D., Peliz A., Miranda P.M.A., et al. 2014. Inter-annual variability and long term predictability of exchanges through the Strait of Gibraltar. Global Planet. Change 114: 23-37.

Calafat F.M., Jordà G., Marcos M., et al. 2012. Comparison of Mediterranean sea level variability as given by three baroclinic models. J. Geophys. Res. 117: C02009.

Cordeiro Pires A., Nolasco R., Rocha A., et al. 2013. Assessing future climate change in the Iberian Upwelling System. Proceedings of the 12th International Coastal Symposium (Plymouth, England), J. Coast. Res., Special Issue No. 65: 1909-1914, ISSN 0749-0208.

Dee D.P., Uppala S.M., Simmons A.J., et al. 2011. The ERA-Interim reanalysis: Configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Quart. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 137: 553-597.

Griffies S.M., Greatbatch R.J. 2012. Physical processes that impact the evolution of global mean sea level in ocean climate models. Ocean Model. 51: 37-72.

Gualdi S. et al. 2011. Future Climate Projections, In: Navarra A. and Tubiana L. (eds), Regional Assessment of Climate Change in the Mediterranean, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. PMCid:PMC3098770

Günther H., Hasselman S., Jansen P.A.E. 1992. The WAM model cycle, 4 (revised version). Technical Report 4, Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum (DKRZ), Hamburg, Germany.

Hemer M.A., Katzfey J., Trenham C. 2012. Global dynamical projections of surface ocean wave climate for a future high greenhouse gas emission scenario. Ocean Model. 70: 221-245.

Hemer M.A., Fan Y., Mori N., et al. 2013. Projected changes in wave climate from a multi-model ensemble. Nature Clim. Change 3: 471-476.

Ishii M., Kimoto M. 2009. Reevaluation of Historical Ocean Heat Content Variations with Time-Varying XBT and MBT Depth Bias Corrections. J. Oceanogr. 65: 287-299.

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2013. Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Working Group I contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Cambridge Univ. Press, UK.

Ivanovic R.F., Valdes P.J., Gregoire L., et al. 2014. Sensitivity of modern climate to the presence, strength and salinity of Mediterranean-Atlantic exchange in a global general circulation model. Clim. Dyn. 42: 859-877.

Jordà G., Gomis D. 2013. On the interpretation of the steric and mass components of sea level variability. The case of the Mediterranean basin. J. Geophys. Res. 118: 953-963.

Jordà G., Gomis D., Álvarez-Fanjul E., et al. 2012. Atmospheric contribution to Mediterranean and nearby Atlantic sea level variability under different climate change scenarios. Global Planet. Change, 80-81: 198-214.

Jones C.G., Willen U., Ullerstig A., et al. 2004. The Rossby Centre Regional Atmospheric Climate Model part I: model climatology and performance for the present climate over Europe. Ambio, 33: 199-210. PMid:15264598

Landerer F.W., Gleckler P.J., Lee T. 2014. Evaluation of CMIP5 dynamic sea surface height multi-model simulations against satellite observations. Clim. Dyn. 43: 1271-1283.

Lebeaupin-Brossier C., Bérangerr K., Deltel C., et al. 2011. The Mediterranean response to different space–time resolution atmospheric forcings using perpetual mode sensitivity simulations. Ocean Model. 36: 1-25.

Levitus S., Boyer T. P. 1994. World Ocean Atlas, Volume 4: Temperature. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 4, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington D.C., 117 pp.

Levitus S., Burgett R., Boyer T.P. 1994. World Ocean Atlas, Volume 3: Salinity. NOAA Atlas NESDIS 3, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington D.C., 99 pp.

Little C.M., Horton R.M., Kopp R.E., et al. 2015. Uncertainty in Twenty-First-Century CMIP5 Sea Level Projections. J. Climate 28: 838-852.

Lorbacher K., Marsland S.J., Church J.A., et al. 2012. Rapid barotropic sea level rise from ice sheet melting, J. Geophys. Res. 117: C06003.

Madec G. 2008. NEMO ocean engine. Note du Pole de modélisation, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace (IPSL), France, No. 27, ISSN No. 1288-1619.

Marcos M., Jordà G., Gomis D., et al. 2011. Changes in storm surges in southern Europe from a regional model under climate change scenarios. Global Planet. Change 77: 116-128.

Martínez-Asensio A., Tsimplis M.N., Marcos M., et al. 2015a. Response of the North Atlantic wave climate to atmospheric modes of variability. Int. J. Climatol. In press.

Martínez-Asensio A., Marcos M., Tsimplis M.N., et al. 2015b. On the ability of statistical wind-wave models to capture the variability and long-term trends of the North Atlantic winter wave climate. Ocean Model. (in press).

Meehl G.A., Stocker T.F., Collins W., et al. 2007. Global climate projections. In: Solomon S., Qin D., Manning M. (eds), Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group 1 to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.

Miranda P.M.A., Alves J.M.R., Serra N. 2012. Climate change and upwelling: response of Iberian upwelling to atmospheric forcing in a regional climate scenario. Clim. Dyn. 40(11): 2813-2824.

Pope V.D., Gallani M.L., Rowntree P.R., et al. 2000. The impact of new physical parametrizations in the Hadley Centre climate model - HadAM3. Clim. Dyn. 16: 123-146.

Relvas P., Luis J., Santos A.M.P. 2009. Decadal changes in the Canary system. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L22601.

Roeckner E., Bauml G., Bonaventura L., et al. 2003. The atmospheric general circulation model ECHAM 5. Part I: model description. Technical Report 349, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

Samuelsson P., Jones C.G., Willen U., et al. 2011. The Rossby Centre regional model RCA3: Model description and performance. Tellus A 63: 4-23.

Slangen A.B.A., Carson M., Katsman C.A., et al. 2014. Projecting twenty-first century regional sea-level changes. Climatic Change 124: 317-332.

Soto-Navarro J., Somot S., Sevault F., et al. 2014. Evaluation of regional ocean circulation models for the Mediterranean Sea at the strait of Gibraltar: volume transport and thermohaline properties of the outflow. Clim. Dyn. 44: 1277-1292.

Terray L., Corre L., Cravatte S., et al. 2012. Near-Surface Salinity as Nature's Rain Gauge to Detect Human Influence on the Tropical Water Cycle. J. Climate 25: 958-977.

Uppala S.M., Kallberg P.W., Simmons A.J., et al. 2005. The ERA- 40 re-analysis. Quart. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 131: 2961-3012.

Vörösmarty C., Fekete B., Tucker B. 1998. Global river discharge, 1807-1991, v. 1.1 RivDIS Data set, from Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center, Oak Ridge, TN, USA.

WAMDI Group. 1988. The WAM model - a third generation ocean wave prediction model. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 18: 1775-1810.<1775:TWMTGO>2.0.CO;2



How to Cite

Gomis D, Álvarez-Fanjul E, Jordà G, Marcos M, Aznar R, Rodríguez-Camino E, Sánchez-Perrino JC, Rodríguez-González JM, Martínez-Asensio A, Llasses J, Pérez B, Sotillo MG. Regional marine climate scenarios in the NE Atlantic sector close to the Spanish shores. Sci. mar. [Internet]. 2016Sep.30 [cited 2024Feb.29];80(S1):215-34. Available from:




Most read articles by the same author(s)